Throughout the year many members contact us for advice and assistance around workplace change. For every member that contacts us, we predict just as many do not. Employees tend to assume that they have no rights when it comes to workplace change.

However, most Enterprise Agreements contain specific workplace change clauses with a range of protections for workers. These clauses, for example, impose consultation requirements on the employer. That is, when management seeks to make a workplace change they are required to notify both staff and the relevant union about the proposed change, what is expected throughout the consultation process and what kind of information should be shared between parties.

Where the employer does not meet the requirements of the consultation clause there is scope to take the matter to the Fair Work Commission for assistance.

In the public hospital sector, the Agreement is clear regarding what types of change constitute the need for consultation. Such changes include a reduction in employee numbers, a change in working hours, need for retraining or transfer of employees to other work locations, and the restructuring of jobs. There may be other types of workplace change that also require the employer to consult with staff and unions.

So if you are a VAHPA member and there is any type of workplace change happening in your department or workplace and you are unsure whether management should be consulting, or if they have consulted correctly, don’t hesitate to contact us for advice and assistance.