Home/Media/VAHPA takes Alfred Health to the Fair Work Commission …. again

VAHPA takes Alfred Health to the Fair Work Commission …. again

15 Feb 2019 | Hands off Radiation Therapy, News


VAHPA takes Alfred Health to the Fair Work Commission… again

VAHPA and Alfred Health appeared in conciliation before Commissioner Wilson on 13 February.  VAHPA initiated these proceedings in an effort to compel Alfred Health to abide by the obligations imposed upon them by the Allied Health Professional Enterprise Agreement in relation to consultation around workplace change.

In particular, the Agreement obliges Alfred Health to provide a genuine opportunity for affected workers and their union to influence the decision maker. VAHPA does not believe Alfred Health has complied with this stipulation.

On 17 December, VAHPA submitted a seven-page document to Alfred Health setting out our key concerns relating to the proposed workplace change.  

On 8 January, Alfred Health responded to VAHPA on the matters raised in this document; the response was spectacularly superficial and failed to take seriously the concerns we raised.  

Wednesday’s Fair Work process saw Alfred Health agree to provide a genuine response to the list of significant concerns raised by VAHPA and the Radiation Therapy workforce, and to meet with VAHPA to discuss these matters in coming weeks. 

Workplace Action

The legal elements of this campaign are important in that they provide space within which we may craft a successful industrial outcomes. It is vital to realise that legal outcomes, in and of themselves, tend to be politically disempowering and disenfranchising for workers.

In any case, the current laws are not favourable for workers (#ChangeTheRules anyone?!) and are rarely successful.

Effective union are those full of strong, empowered and enfranchised members. It is to the workplace and to the community more broadly that we must look… From Ballarat to Geelong and right across the metropolitan area, Radiation Therapists gathered to send a strong message that they are not taking this threat to their career structure lying down.   

In a sign of growing solidarity and a real sense of community, the RTs were joined by a raft of Allied Health Professionals including Physiotherapists, Medical Imaging Technologists, Social workers and more.  

This was wonderful to see.  ​AHPs protested at Alfred Hospital, Barwon Andrew Love Cancer Centre, Austin Hospital, Austin BAROC, Peter Mac VCCC, Sunshine, Moorabbin & Box Hill. Check out our video.

Media Coverage

Despite it being a pretty busy news day (historic votes in parliament tend to get a lot of coverage), we got good press interest, including 

It is important that we continue to raise the profile of the campaign and the reasons why removing skilled and experienced Radiation Therapists from these key positions is an incredibly bad idea.   

It has become clear that the Labor government are happy taking a “hands off” approach (a thematically germane response, but one that slaps Victoria’s Allied Health Professionals in the face a lets us know that we are considered to be politically irrelevant). Political relevance, in this context, flows from one’s ability to influence electorate outcomes; via a positive or negative campaign. 

A fair observer might well note the massive disparity between the way huge health unions are treated and the way smaller health unions are treated. Healthcare outcomes not electoral results should shape the way our healthcare system is structured and resourced. 

Future Actions

It looks like it is time to take this campaign up a notch or two.  VAHPA does not go looking for fights but we will always do what it takes to protect our members, our jobs, our career structures and our professions.  

Allied Health Professionals have been treated as second class citizens for far too long.  This has to change!  Together we will overcome! VAHPA is a democratic community of Allied Health Professionals; we stand together or we fall.