Health workers have walked off the job as the pay debacle enters its sixth week.

About 500 maintenance workers remain on standby at hospitals demanding answers to the ongoing payroll crisis.

Marnie Gerrard reports.

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Maintenance unions are taking industrial action. They want some certainty as to when the payroll crisis will be fixed.

Scott Stanford, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union: “We’re sick of hearing ‘we’re looking at it’, ‘we’re working on it’, ‘it’s going to take some time’.”

Premier Anna Bligh says Queensland Health is addressing members’ concerns.

Anna Bligh, Premier: “I would say to maintenance workers, as I would say to nurses, doctors, orderlies – every one of you is entitled to your full pay and as quickly as possible.”

Every hospital has been authorised to draw cheques for underpaid health workers. But unions say payslips are so vague that staffs fear using this service may result in overpay.

Scott Stanford, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union: “They’re reluctant to go and get extra money in case it puts them in front and then they have to pay that money back.”

The opposition is encouraging unions to take action.

John-Paul Langbroek, Opposition Leader: “It just shows that they’re frustrated that all they’re getting from the government is platitude and they are obviously seeking to make sure they have their feeling be heard.”

Workers will remain on site responding to any emergency jobs, ensuring their strike does not affect patient care.

Scott Stanford, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union: “This is not about hurting patients, it’s not about hurting the public, it’s just about getting a message out there that people have been underpaid and they need to have that corrected as soon as possible.”

Unions expect it could be another four pay cycles, up to eight weeks before the mess is sorted out.

Marnie Gerrard, QUT News