Major Workplace Change
“It is vital that Enterprise Agreements provide employees with access to the decision making process with regard to workplace change,” said VAHPA Secretary, Craig McGregor. “They’re the people best placed to understand the implications of any proposed change for Allied Health Professionals, patients and the delivery of healthcare. Members fought to have this problem rectified to a large extent in Community Health; those in the public sector now have an opportunity to do likewise,” concluded McGregor.
Members at Calvary and St Vincent’s have taken a strong stand on worrying trends in workplace change in recent weeks.
Historically, union engagement with Calvary has been poor. As a result, membership density was low and activists were left unsupported. We have largely overcome this historical failing through a series of workplace meetings and have facilitated the creation of a VAHPA delegation. The delegation has commenced negotiations with management on the proposed workplace changes. Consequently, the timeline has been extended and the proposed process amended.
On the ground, VAHPA Members did two important things: they recruited new members and did a mountain of work on understanding the changes and the implications of those changes for both staff and patients.
The final proposal was further amended and, whilst there will be a small reduction in Senior Clinician EFT in one discipline, there will be NO loss of staff at this level.
VAHPA Membership at Calvary has grown by over 60%.
Staff in one department were told that they would be cutting the weekend roster in order to address budget constraints. Neither the staff nor the union were consulted about the proposed changes.
“When I made enquiries, St Vincent’s HR explicitly denied any change was happening,” said VAHPA Organiser, Emma Brelsford. “It’s an odd response, given Members had already received advice about it.”
Again, members had to organise in order to be taken seriously. VAHPA Delegates had been active at St Vincent’s with union recruitment; this work saw an increase in members numbers by 11% in the first half of this year. However, in the face of this acute matter membership has soared. Delegates at St Vincent’s can now boast an increase in membership of over 45% this year! Whatever transpires with this restructure, VAHPA Members are ready.