Wollongong Hospital staff walk off job

Patients at Wollongong Hospital had their breakfast and morning tea disrupted on Thursday when food preparation staff walked off the job.

The four-hour stoppage by the Health Services Union members finished about 11am, with food services back to normal by lunchtime.

‘‘Staff at Wollongong Hospital are at breaking point,’’ an HSU spokesman said. ‘‘This morning’s four-hour stop-work action resulted due to a lack of procedural fairness for a member. However disruption to food services was minimal.’’

A spokeswoman for HealthShare NSW, which is responsible for the provision of food services to public hospital patients, confirmed that staff had gone out on strike in the morning. 

‘‘The matter was immediately referred to the Industrial Relations Commission for urgent consideration,’’ she said.

‘‘While the matter was being considered, local arrangements were in place to continue to provide food service to patients.

‘‘Striking staff have now returned to work and the matter has been settled.’’ 

The spokeswoman said HealthShare NSW had worked closely with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District to make sure there was minimal impact on patient services.

‘‘We regret any inconvenience this matter caused to patients,’’ she said.