Strike stretch is testing service

PATHOLOGY SITE: One of the Dorevitch sites in Wodonga. Picture: BLAIR THOMSON
PATHOLOGY SITE: One of the Dorevitch sites in Wodonga. Picture: BLAIR THOMSON

DOREVITCH Pathology staff have been locked out of the business and taken strike action, with the Border branches of the blood collection service left stretched.

The industrial action started on Tuesday after the company announced the lockout of 66 employees, and will run until Thursday.

The Health Workers Union had urged employees to join the stop-work action, but non-union members have continued to work.

Collection points – including sites in Albury, Wodonga, Beechworth, Yackandandah and Wangarattta – have been left under resourced by the moves.

It’s believed some of the local sites have temporarily closed during the dispute.

The business has been unable to undertake home call outs during the industrial action.

A Border employee said there was no resolution in sight to the dispute, which centres around pay and conditions.

“We’re well below industry standards,” the worker, who asked not to be named, told The Border Mail.

“Other pathology companies pay pathology collectors a much higher rate.

“We’re pushing for Dorevitch to come to the table.

“With the rising costs of living – we work for $21 an hour – it’s really just not adding up.”

The worker said she was one of those locked out by the company, and had only found out by email.

Dorevitch advertised for collectors on online job sites covering the wider Albury-Wodonga area on Wednesday.

The union sent a notice to members urging them to stick together.

“Technically, the lockout will continue until Dorevitch notifies the employees that the lockout ceases,” the union stated.  

“We need to put pressure on Dorevitch – that’s why the employee response action is necessary.”

The union has a list of demands it says the business is failing to negotiate on. 

The employee said it was concerning the company had been trying to fill the positions.

Dorevitch did not return calls on Wednesday. 

The company previously released a statement saying there would be no impact to the services it provided. 

“Dorevitch remains committed to its GPs, patients and staff as we work through this matter,” the statement said.  

“A number of contingencies have been implemented to limit the impact to patients and GPs.”