Victorian Public Health Sector
Bargaining was completed on 4 August 2016, virtually minutes prior to a 600-plus strong meeting at the Athenaeum Theatre of Allied Health Professionals and inflatable dinosaurs. The approved draft Agreement was lodged with the Fair Work Commission on 22 December 2016. VAHPA managed to secure approval for the lump sum payment ($1561 pro-rata) to be made prior to Christmas, but individual employers had varied timeframes for this to be implemented.
The new Agreement finally came into force on 3 May 2017, with many employers providing back pay just prior to this date. The hard-won Agreement came with many improvements including:
- Pay increases of 3.25% each in 2016 and 2017 (including uplifts of $17.50 to the top of Grades 1, 2 and 3), and 3% in 2018 and 2019;
- Rationalisation and updating of all classification descriptors;
- Time Off in Lieu to be paid at Overtime rates;
- Part-time employee access to Professional Development Leave;
- Improved consultation, dispute resolution, discipline, and vacancy-filling clauses;
- Payment of superannuation on paid parental leave wages; and
- Earlier access to, and more flexible, long service leave arrangements.
- The removal of consent arbitration
The Agreement also introduced new conditions and entitlements, including:
- 20 days of paid Family Violence leave;
- The introduction of ‘advanced clinical’, ‘educational’, managerial’ and ‘research’ areas of expertise for Grade 3 and 4 AHPs;
- a Union Matters clause which among other things grants access to five days of paid union training per year;
- a Transition to Retirement provision; and
- A classification and re-classification process
Royal District Nursing Service
Bargaining concluded on the new Agreement in 2016 on an Agreement that combines AHPs with Nurses. The Fair Work Commission approved the Agreement and came into operation on 13 January 2017. Bargaining was difficult as VAHPA members are significantly outnumbered by nurses, which makes it difficult to get AHP and Customer Service Operator-specific matters given the deserved attention.
The final Agreement included CPD allowance being rolled into the wages for Allied Health and Customer Service Operator staff with wage increases then applied: 2.25% from the commencement of the EA and 2.75% from 1 July 2017.
Following years of negotiations, and the rejection of two substandard proposals for a new Agreement put forward by Scope management by VAHPA members, bargaining finally concluded in 2016. The new Enterprise Agreement became operational on 27 March.
Scope members showed great solidarity throughout the bargaining process, by taking united industrial action and not being willing to settle for anything that would leave them lagging behind the rest of the sector. Scope members can now enjoy the benefits of their new Agreement including an increase to the quantum of paid Parental Leave, new increments within the classification structures and a backdated annual wage increase of 2.5% each year until a 1.25% increase on 1 July 2018 to span the final six months of the Agreement.
Western Private Hospital
Bargaining was over relatively quickly at with Western Private Hospital providing a strong offer to VAHPA members.
The new Agreement became operational on 6 April and includes the addition of Family Violence Leave and annual increases similar to that of the Public Sector – 3.25%, 3.25%, 3% and 3%.
VAHPA members at Yooralla took weeks of industrial action for the purpose of winning an improved wage offer that would keep them on par with their colleagues in the community health and public hospital sector and deflect proposed cuts to Long Service Leave and Accident Make-Up Pay. The actions taken included bans on completing data, time tracking and billing information, the wearing of campaign T-shirts and badges, and through encouraging clients and their parents to send VAHPA postcards to the Yooralla CEO questioning why the disability sector should be paid less.
The action taken by VAHPA members was successful at rejecting the idea that disability work was worth less than that done by those in the public and/or community health sector, and in defending existing conditions and winning improved conditions. The new Agreement came into force on 12 April and includes seminar leave, professional development allowance, relocation allowance, and family violence leave. The pay increases improved from Yooralla’s initial 2.5% offer and kept pace with the public health sector, including 2.5% for the first six months, 0.75% for the second six months and 3.25% for the second year, with additional $17 per week increases for the top level in each grade.
VAHPA Members at Healthe Care ran a tight campaign with a Protected Action Ballot application being lodged with Fair Work just prior to Xmas 2016 and the commencement of industrial action in January 2017. This resulted in an improved offer from Health Care management, which was endorsed by VAHPA Members.
The pay rises achieved were 3.75%, 3.25% and 3.25% respectively, as well as improvements around a number of key conditions.
“VAHPA Delegates and Members did a great job of really driving this bargaining, making it clear they wanted to see real progress or would take action” said VAHPA Organiser, Carly Bald.
St Vincent’s Private Hospital
Members at St Vincent’s Private have achieved a new agreement that delivers 3% per annum pay rises over a four-year agreement with no loss in current conditions.
The campaign also saw members win a raft of other improvements in their conditions of work, including an $800 per annum professional development (PD) allowance, improved access to PD leave, time off in lieu (TOIL) for PD leave on non-work days, improved higher duties allowance access, TOIL for overtime taken at overtime rates and super on paid parental leave.
VAHPA delegate, Jeremy Duggan said, “Feedback about the offer has been very positive. Members felt that previous agreements had been rushed through without addressing many important issues like professional development”.
At the time of publishing, the Agreement is at the Fair Work Commission awaiting approval.
Podiatrists at Dimple have had an interesting time with bargaining this year, to say the very least. An Agreement was put to staff and voted down. After some changes a second draft was voted up by staff.
VAHPA are challenging the approval of this Agreement on the basis that it does not meet the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT).
As they say in the classics, “Watch this space!”
Ramsay Health Care
In a ‘hot off the press’ update, the new Ramsay Agreement was voted up by staff last week. VAHPA members participated in Protected Industrial Action during the campaign and won some excellent new entitlements including a Professional Development Allowance, five days paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave, improved Recall to Work conditions for Medical Imaging and Cardiac Technologist employees, more flexible access to Long Service Leave, and the introduction of Workload Management Clauses.
“This Agreement has had a long, sometimes difficult and mostly productive drafting process after in-principle support was given by VAHPA Members” said Lead Organiser, Linda Jenkin “it would be great if it was all good and finished at that point but it’s required months of painstaking work by our Senior Industrial Officer, Alex Leszczynski”.
Pinarc Disability Support
Pinarc bargaining has recently and is progressing through the bargaining process. The Log of Claims has a range of new and/or improved conditions including: Family and Domestic Violence Leave, wage increases, an updated classification structure and updates to the Higher Duties Allowance. Stay tuned for more updates as bargaining continues!
Barwon Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA)
Bargaining commenced in May with Barwon CASA. The organisation has recently merged with another local Family Violence organisation called Minerva, however these Employees were mainly paid against the industry award and had no additional conditions. The organisation has proposed a number of reductions in conditions including;
- Capping personal leave days at 15 per year when it would normally be 21 days for all new employees.
- Removing ADO’s from the agreement,
- Reducing the minimum call from 3 hours to 2 hours and not paying leave entitlements on maternity leave.
- Reduce the meal break to a max of 30 mins
- A new clause that would allow managers to direct staff to take annual leave where more than more than 8 weeks was accrued.
- Require employees to use any time in lieu allocation within 28 days currently 3 months.
Some other minor changes would also result in a reduction of conditions.
Some gains achieved in the negotiations so far include;
- 3.25% pay increased in the first 2 years and 3% thereafter
- The introduction of the Grade 2 Year 5 level into the classification
Negotiations will continue through July for the new agreement.
Gateways Support Services
Allied Health Professionals at Gateways Support Services were keen to bargain in 2016 for a new Agreement to replace their expired one. Approaches to management indicated bargaining might be able to start sometime in 2017 which sounded a bit too far away for VAHPA Members!
A Majority Support Petition was completed and submitted to the Fair Work Commission, at which point the management agreed to bargain. Our first meeting is on Friday 4 August and Members are meeting regularly to refine their Log of Claims. Two Delegates have undertaken VAHPA training and it’s fair to say we’re all very keen to get this one moving!
Eastern Palliative Care (EPC)
Bargaining is currently in progress and members are awaiting a substantive response to their log of claims but EPC have made a wages offer so far. Whilst the offer is quite reasonable, it does have some problems with family support workers and family support consultants achieving near to public sector parity, whilst massage therapists and music therapists are left behind somewhat.
Further opportunities to be involved in the bargaining and be updated on the progress will take place at a members meeting held at EPC Kew (Studley Park Road) on August 2 at 8:15am.
Melbourne City Mission (Aged/Palliative Care)
After a long, protracted negotiation that saw members vote down the original agreement before Christmas, a revised agreement has been endorsed by members that will see the introduction for Grade 2 year 5 and a clause to allow backfilling of leave going forward and annual wage increases of 3%.
Employees will be asked to vote on the agreement shortly before it is submitted to the Fair Work Commission.
Macedon Ranges Health
Bargaining at Macedon Ranges has started with Members seeking to to make up considerable ground.
Initial negotiations have now enabled members to be brought largely in line with other Community Health sector conditions with wage increases to try to bring them quickly close to Community Sector parity. These include a 10.4% increase backdated from July 2016, then 2.5% in July 2017, 2018 and 2019 and January 2020, plus a $12,500 lump sum (pro-rata).
Community Health Sector
With the nominal expiry of the multi-enterprise Community Health Sector enterprise agreement occurring over a year ago on 30 June 2016, action is beginning to ramp up in the campaign for improvements in the wages and conditions of Allied Health Professionals in Community Health, as well as the well-being of the sector as a whole. The “Defend Community Health” campaign will be rolling out at all stand alone Community Health Centres, raising not just the issue of Allied Health Professionals’ wages and conditions, but the very survival of Community Health as a vital sector in healthcare in Victoria run along egalitarian principles.
However while we need to fight for the survival of community health, the simple fact is that negotiating a multi-enterprise agreement that covers all Community Health Centres is not good for Allied Health Professionals or the Community Health sector. As such VAHPA is seeking to negotiate single enterprise agreements at each individual Community Health Centre. However the employers and their representative, the VHIA, are steadfast in wanting to negotiate a multi-enterprise agreement, though as the outcome for dentists in Community Health demonstrates (6 different enterprise agreements) they can’t guarantee this will be the final outcome of such negotiations.
The only way to make Community Health employers negotiate single enterprise agreements is to make an application to the Fair Work Commission for what is called a majority support determination. This requires a majority of the relevant employees in a workplace to sign a petition stating they want to bargain for a single enterprise agreement.
By now many of you would have signed such a petition and organisers would have collected them from the numerous workplaces. However if you want to sign and have yet to, track down your delegate or contact your organiser to sign your Community Health Centre’s petition.
VAHPA will be holding an essential Community Health Mass meeting on Thursday 17 August, 6:30pm at the Function Room of the City of Melbourne Bowls Club in Flagstaff Gardens to discuss our Community Health campaign. It is vital to have maximum attendance to ensure that all Community Health members (and non-members alike) are organised, unified, and informed.
Regional Imaging Gippsland (RIG)
VAHPA has a Protected Action Ballot underway at RIG in an effort to bring bargaining at Regional Imaging Gippsland (RIG) to a successful conclusion.
The parties remain some distance apart despite having spent some four months at the bargaining table.
“We find that management struggle with the notion VAHPA is the membership and not a separate entity and that when we say “that offer is not acceptable” it’s the Members actually speaking,” said VAHPA Lead Organiser Linda Jenkin.
Despite our advice that it was not acceptable, RIG management pressed ahead, putting the Agreement out to a vote, in which RIG staff delivered a very strong message with a 78% participation rate and 76% voting NO to the offer.
“The current offer provides for a 2% pay rise and a reduction in a number of significant conditions including night shift penalties and spread of hours,” said Jenkin.
“Staff are just not prepared to wear it – you don’t bargain to go backwards!
“We’d have hoped that this round of bargaining could progress more smoothly, however VAHPA Members at RIG have been aware that taking action in defence of their conditions was always on the cards.”
Bargaining for a new enterprise agreement for employees, including Allied Health Professionals, at BreastScreen Victoria began earlier in the year. At present there has not been any significant progress.
BreastScreen Victoria have proposed a number of changes to the proposed enterprise agreement, some positive, many negative. They have also agreed to some of VAHPA’s claims, but not most of them. Recently they have put a wage offer on the table, though unfortunately this provides for pay increases of less than 2% per annum.
BreastScreen Victoria have however also proposed changes to the wage structure and increments, which could result in higher pay increases for Allied Health Professionals. As such we are waiting on this information from BreastScreen Victoria before deciding on how we progress with negotiations.
Bargaining for an enterprise agreement for employees at Marina Radiology has just commenced with the first bargaining meeting being held on 5 July and the next coming up soon on 2 August.
This is a first Agreement for Marina and VAHPA’s Senior Industrial Officer, Alex Leszczynski, is currently examining the draft Agreement provided by the Company.
Two meetings have been held with AHPs and these will continue between bargaining meetings to keep everyone informed and assess progress.
Marina staff who are not yet on our email list should contact Linda Jenkin at email@example.com or call 1300 322 917,
Australian Red Cross Blood Service
AHPs at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service have been working with their VAHPA Delegates and Organiser, Pavel O’Connor, on their Log of Claims. This Agreement expires on 1 October 2015 and a date for the commencement of bargaining should be established soon. Along with, Pavel, VAHPA Senior Industrial Officer, Alex Leszczynski will be working on this Agreement with ARCBS Delegates and Members.
AHPs at Lyndoch Living have met with VAHPA Organiser, Carly Bald, and a Log of Claims is currently being considered for endorsement. We would anticipate bargaining meetings commencing soon.
AHPs at Cabrini Health have been busy endorsing their Delegates and finalising their Log of Claims. This Agreement expires on 1 October 2015 and a date for the commencement of bargaining should be established soon. VAHPA Organiser, Pavel O’Connor and Industrial Officer, Luke Smeaton will be working on this Agreement with Cabrini Delegates and Members.
COMING UP – PRE-BARGINING WORK IN PROGRESS
Including but not limited to:
- Melbourne City Mission (Early Childhood Intervention) – Commencing August
- Healthcare Imaging Services (HIS) – Commencing September/October
- Radiation Oncology Victoria – Commencing September
- Guide Dogs Victoria – Research Survey underway