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Nurses angered at $1.2 million pay boost for hotel quarantine workers

Liam Bartlett
Article image for Nurses angered at $1.2 million pay boost for hotel quarantine workers

The Australian Nurses Federation have expressed frustration at a pay bonus given to hotel quarantine workers ,while their salary increases remain capped at one percent.

Security guards, cleaners and food and beverage workers who were likely to interact with people in quarantine were handed a 40 per cent pay increase after they were told they couldn’t work a second job.

But it was revealed by 6PR Mornings yesterday that staff who have vague contact with the guests, including management and chefs, have been paid an extra 10 per cent.

The topping up of hotel quarantine pay packets has cost taxpayers close to $1.2 million since February 15.

Secretary of the Australian Nurses Federation, Mark Olson, said he can’t believe health care workers in the quarantine system weren’t given the same treatment.

“We have hundreds or thousands of members who have had direct contact over the last 12 months with COVID patients,” he told Liam Bartlett.

“Our members got the same wage increase as police, teachers and others in the public sector, and that was generally less than one per cent, about $1000 per year.”

He said thousands of WA nurses have been forced to sign contracts saying they can’t have a second job without permission of their employer.

“If it can be done for the nursing staff and the midwives, why can’t it be done for security guards?” he said.

“The most galling part of all, is the basis of providing this 40 per cent wage increase was to say – well you can’t work elsewhere – well they told the nurses that with no 10 per cent pay increase, no 40 per cent pay increase.

“I’d like to see someone from the government come out and explain who made that decision and why they made that decision.”

Eligible hotel quarantine workers will be paid a loading until their earnings reach a cumulative threshold of $100,000 in the 12-month period from February 15.

Click play to hear the full interview. 

(Photo: iStock by Getty Images.) 

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