The latest pay offer by Community Health management would be an unfair rip-off with VHPA members ending up getting $5,000 a year less than similarly qualified colleagues who are covered by a separate Enterprise Agreement.
A new analysis by the VHPA shows that most Podiatrists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Pathologists working in Community Health would be paid almost $100 a week less than Dietitians who work with them side by side.
Some Health Professionals who are on the Grade 3 Year 4 increment could be worse off by as much as $137 a week or more than $7,000 a year.
The pay disparity between the two groups of Community Health employees is one of the main reasons why the VHPA is urging members to reject the offer.
Secretary of the Victorian Health Professionals Association, Craig McGregor says that Health Professionals working at Community Health Centres are outraged when they hear about this unfair treatment.
“Health Professionals at Community Health Centres have not had a pay rise for almost three years. They have also missed out on professional development and improvements to career pathways in that time.”
“Now they are being offered a miserly increase that would see them fall even further behind other colleagues who happen to be covered by a separate, more favourable Enterprise Agreement.”
“We don’t begrudge the pay and conditions of Dietitians who are our colleagues, but it is blatantly unfair for our members.”
Patients in the local area will also lose out in the longer term. A lack of improvements to staff pay and conditions, including appropriate rewards for the skills and qualifications of all Health Professionals, will continue to exacerbate the problem of retaining quality carers.
The VHPA has written directly to the Boards of Directors of the Community Health Centres to express our concern about the situation.
Given the unwillingness of the employers’ bargaining representative, the VHIA, to negotiate an appropriate outcome the VHPA has now begun lodging up to 37 separate pay claims instead of one overall Enterprise Agreement.
“We do not believe that Community Health Professionals should be treated as the ‘poor cousins’ of their colleagues and those who work in other health services,” said Craig McGregor.
* These Grades are comparable Health Professional job classifications under the Community Health Centre – VHPA Enterprise Agreement.
+ Most Health Professionals working in Community Health Centres are on Grade 2, year 4 salary level. Some are also on other Grade 2 and Grade 3 salaries.