Industrial action taken by VAHPA members at Yooralla has delivered a new agreement that ensures dedicated allied health professionals will be retained in the disability sector. The annual pay increases agreed to by the parties matches the recent public sector settlement and ensures that wages remain in step with other major health employers.

Bargaining commenced in July last year with management making sweeping proposals that could have dramatically expanded regular hours of work while undermining important conditions such as long service leave and accident make-up-pay.

Members responded resolutely in November last year by voting to move towards industrial action. Faced with the prospect of a vote for protected action, Yooralla dropped the worst of their proposals. However, the wage offer remained meagre at only 2.5% per annum. In pursuit of an improved offer, members took industrial action. The action included bans on data collection and on the processing of files. Members also ramped up their campaign by distributing flyers and pertinent information to clients.

In December Yooralla made a revised wage offer which matched that achieved in the Victorian public sector. Member endorsed this position, which also guaranteed that there would be no loss of current entitlements.

The agreement delivers a number of improvements, including:

  • Professional Development Allowance increased to $600 in 2017 and $700 in 2018;
  • Infectious disease leave provisions (in addition to sick leave);
  • 3 days seminar leave with TOIL for professional development on weekends and non-rostered days.

This was a hard fought campaign and Yooralla members are to be congratulated for their efforts. The outcome shows that a strategic campaign backed up by genuine solidarity will achieve a fair and reasonable outcome.

The agreement will be put out for formal consideration next week. A ballot will follow, giving members an opportunity to formally endorse agreement.