Union members fight back

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A damning report by Fair Work Australia into the misuse of finances at the Health Services Union released earlier this year and ongoing allegations of corruption has forced local members of the union to take matters into their own hands.

100 workers from the HSU sub branch at Nepean Hospital met with representatives from Unions NSW to discuss their concerns about a rapidly declining membership and their dissatisfaction with union management.

Geoff Johnson, President of the Nepean Hospital sub branch, estimated that they had lost nearly a quarter of their members in the past month alone because of ongoing corruption claims, including those surrounding ex-Labor MP, Craig Thomson, who was a former general secretary.

“As a union delegate, it is sad. We don’t get paid for our time, hours, and mobile phone bills like the executive do. And it is sad that we spend so much of our time only to be treated like this in return,” Mr Johnson said.

Ray Hicks, a long-time member of the HSU, attended the meeting today and said that many of his colleagues share his sense of frustration and disappointment.

“We are all very upset about the allegations that have come to light in the past weeks and we don’t want more of the same. Our members deserve better,” Mr Hicks said.

A motion was passed at the meeting calling for all executives in the HSU to stand down immediately and an independent administrator appointed by the courts.

“I really hope that things will change. We need more transparency, more accountability so that people who hold the power in our union do not abuse it,” Mr Hicks said.

The branch is participating in a ‘HS-You” campaign to ‘remember the members’ and bring the focus back on the needs of health service workers.

A consultation for local members is being held at the Unions NSW auditorium trades hall later this week.

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