Pictured above: Paleontologist Sir Richard Owen (1804 – 1892). Best remembered for coining the word Dinosauria meaning Terrible Reptile.
Bargaining progress: Some improvements already agreed
Members who attended our mass meeting in April will already be aware that bargaining for the new public sector Agreement has resulted in a number of positive outcomes, including:
- Superannuation to be paid on the paid portion of parental leave
- St Vincent’s Hospital to abandon archaic income protection scheme—St Vincent’s AHPs will now accrue personal leave at the same rate as other public sector AHPs
- 3-hour minimum engagement for overtime performed on a non-rostered day of work
- Improvements to the higher duties allowance provisions
- Introduction of process for reclassification to a higher grade
- Improved consultation clause
- Removal of the consent arbitration clause—employers no longer able to refuse to have workplace disputes arbitrated
- Definite entitlement to pro-rata long service leave after 10-years service
- Clear entitlement for part-time employees to access professional development leave
Hospitals ‘out of touch’ when it comes to issues facing AHPs
Despite these improvements, there are still a number of outstanding claims that have not been accepted.
- Student load: VAHPA has some concern that the serious issues related to student workload are not being properly addressed
- Classification structure: employers have not yet agreed to our proposal for a reasonable and critical renewal of your career structure—the structure has remained mostly static over the last 50-years despite the massive shifts in the healthcare sector and professional practice over that time
- Wages: VAHPA’s claim for AHP wages to match those of public sector dietitians prior to application of fair annual pay increases remains unresolved
Adding insult to injury:
Employers have made some proposals to take some of your existing entitlements backwards. These include:
- Increased powers for employers to direct employees to take annual leave at a particular time that may not suit the employee
- Changes to fixed term contract arrangements that could see staff employed on ongoing fixed-term contracts for a prolonged period of time
VAHPA is continuing to negotiate on these matters to ensure that appropriate protections are in place for AHPs.
Protected action ballot:
By now members should have cast their vote in the protected action ballot.
The hospitals’ positions outlined above demonstrate why it is so important for members to get ready to engage in the full list of industrial actions. We must put maximum pressure on the state government and hospitals to do the right thing and improve our structures.
Although we are pleased that many of our claims have been accepted (those necessary to give our Enterprise Agreement teeth), we are disappointed by the lack of movement on your classification structure, the student workload issue and on your wages.
Changes of significance, such as those we need here, don’t just happen. We must step things up if we are to deliver for all Victorians—this is where industrial action comes into play.
The results of the protected action ballot were declared by the AEC late on Wednesday 15 June. The successful results of the ballot demonstrate how deeply and passionately members feel about the issues at stake. Members should expect information to arrive in the mail on phase 1 of the industrial action over the coming period.
There is plenty going on in the Code Blue Campaign.
Play your part—ask your colleagues to join VAHPA.
NB. Exact wording of all clauses to be finalised during the drafting process.