Pictured above are Community Health members getting the message out to colleagues and management at the mass meeting –  from left, Lisa Magnusson, North Yarra; Carla Sala, Doutta Galla; Mabrooka Singh and Annee Miron, Western Region Health Service

Health Professionals at Community Health Centres in Melbourne City, inner and western suburbs protested over their employment conditions at a mass meeting today, Tues 19 Nov.

The protest highlights the fact it is three years since Community Health Professionals have last had a pay rise and are being paid $3000 a year less than similarly qualified colleagues.

The meeting of more than 300 staff is the biggest gathering of Community Health workers for many years and involved staff from Centres including Melbourne City, Fitzroy, Carlton, Collingwood, Moonee Ponds, Footscray, Sunshine and Braybrook.

Craig McGregor, the head of the Victorian Health Professionals Association, says that Community Health Professionals are being unfairly treated.

“Our members have not had a wage increase since November 2010. They have also missed out on professional development and improvements to career pathways,” said Craig McGregor.

“At the same time however, some of their colleagues who also have degree-qualifications and similar levels of experience are being paid $3000 a year more than they are.”

“This means that Podiatrists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Pathologists are being paid much less than other professionals who work with them side-by-side.”

“This is blatantly unfair and it is no wonder there is unrest over the current approach by the Centres’ management.

“The real losers are the patients who need affordable and high quality healthcare.”

“Without improvements to staff pay and conditions, including appropriate rewards for higher skills and qualifications, the Centres will struggle to retain the best people and provide the best standard of care to the local community,” said Craig McGregor.

Community Health Centres provide affordable healthcare services to pensioners, children, people with chronic illnesses and local residents.

Today’s meeting was called by management to discuss a proposed merger of Doutta Galla, North Yarra and Western Region health services.

**Stop press** Say no to unfair offer

Members are urged to hold firm and say no to the unfair pay offer that management at some Community Health centres are attempting to push through.

The VHPA understands the offer is unchanged, providing only a small pay rise and no concessions to members’ log of claims.

“Clearly managers at some centres are trying to test the resolve of Community Health Professionals. Unless they deal with the problem of wage disparity with other professionals and the other key elements of our claim, why would anyone support it?” questioned Emma Brelsford.

 >>It’s time to support our Community Health colleagues