Quite a bit has been happening in the Community Health campaign both at the bargaining table and at your workplaces. And as we move towards the end of the year thing will really start to ramp up.
By the way, it is vital that you share these updates with your co-workers. The entire Allied Health workforce is going to have to pull together, in an unprecedented show of commitment and solidarity, if we are going to achieve the kinds of outcomes Community Health needs.
Please also take the time to ask your colleagues to subscribe to the Defending Community Health Campaign updates via this LINK.
As you will recall, VAHPA and the Victorian Hospitals’ Industrial Association (VHIA) have spent many months tussling around the issue of how bargaining would proceed (for further information on this, see our Update of 18 August).
Our approach proved to be the right one, and allowed us to set up a series of meetings with the VHIA to progress negotiations while protecting our ability to take industrial action at an appropriate time should that become necessary.
The parties have met for talks on five occasions so far, with three further meetings booked between now and mid-January.
These talks have seen the VHIA, representing the employers, agree to some 25% of the claims we have made through our various Logs. However, with the exception of Family and Domestic Violence Leave, these are items with a relatively narrow remit. Almost all of what we would describe as the ‘big ticket items’ have thus far been rejected by the VHIA.
“We hold serious concerns for the entire sector,” said VAHPA Secretary, Craig McGregor.
“The changes to funding arrangements, from block funding to commodity care arrangements, are having an impact at the bargaining table. This stuff tears at the very heart of Community Health,” said McGregor.
“We are unified in our desire to defend Community Health. And that is what we are going to do, make no mistake,” concluded McGregor.
The VAHPA claims are designed to give Community AHPs, the experts, a much larger degree of control over their workloads and KPIs, and an improved classification structure.
Firstly, we have had a pay offer. However, the offer is not one that we consider to be fair or reasonable. The offer does not include backpay and is in fact payable from the first full pay period on or after (FFPPOA) approval of any agreement or agreements by the Fair Work Commission. This would most likely be many months after any possible in-principle support. So the issue of backpay would be significant by the time any increases were applicable. This would mean a substantial loss of pay for workers.
The third issue is the percentage increase on the table…they are less than what your comrades in the public sector achieved. The offer also lacks the uplifts that apply to the public sector salary schedule ($17.50 at the top of grades 1, 2 & 3 on 4 August 2016 & 1 November 2017). Then there is the issue of the lump sum payment your public sector comrades received: $1,561 for full-time staff, pro rata for part-time.
Despite this, the VHIA has indicated it wants the Performance Development allowance rolled into the wage outcome. This has occurred in the Public Sector however, the wage outcome was better, leaving AHPs well ahead.
We have given the proposals put to us by the VHIA genuine consideration and we have discussed these offers with your colleagues in the bargaining team. We don’t think the current offer is acceptable! We will however be calling you to discuss where things are at and to assess your view.
“Ernest Borgnine playing ’Shaggy Breeches’ in the 1958 classic Vikings!
In addition to workplace meetings, starting Tuesday 21 November, the VAHPA Organising Team will be calling everyone (yes, everyone) in Community Health to discuss bargaining and the various issues that flow from the process. In particular, this call will confirm your position in the context of the recent Public Sector pay rise, the current offer and the next steps in the campaign.
If you see a missed call from VAHPA, please don’t hesitate to call us back on 1300 322 917. This is really important. Please make sure you have the conversation with your VAHPA Organiser.
If you are not already on our email list – or you think we may not have your mobile number on file – you can update your details via this LINK.
As mentioned above, please share this email with your co-workers; we will need a concerted collective effort to achieve a good outcome in this campaign and the first step is to ensure that everyone is receiving VAHPA updates.
Want to get more involved?
There are still many sites – particularly at larger CHCs – where we could have more VAHPA Delegates and Contact People. If you are interested, and you should be, please contact us.
If you know of an AHP colleague who is not yet a VAHPA Member, ask them to join VAHPA and stand with you in Defending Community Health!
Joining is quick and easy via this LINK and membership fees are tax deductible. If you’re an early career AHP (within 4 years since graduation) we have a very generous and recently expanded discounted membership that provides you with full coverage.
We leave you with this bit of Viking wisdom:
“Her power should
Every sagacious woman
Use with discretion;
For she will find,
When among the bold she comes,
That no one alone is the doughtiest.”