Blue Care Stronger Together

Admin staff negotiation update 19 April 2012.

Posted by Alex Scott on April 23, 2012

Your union delegates and officials met with Blue Care today to further your enterprise bargaining claims. 

Delegates present were Cecilia Condratoff (Springwood) and Shane Daly (Caloundra).

Blue Care has adopted an approach to the negotiations where they expect members to fund any improvements in your working conditions.  This is very clear in the Blue Care response to the union claim for "Income Protection to be paid for by the organisation." Management are happy to facilitate the premium and the policy with an insurer but the cost would be carried by the employees through a reduction in the pay increase.

Are you prepared to accept a lower percentage pay increase to pay for Income Protection?
Email bluecare@together.org.au with your answer.

Your union put a proposal to Blue Care to increase the number of pay points within the classification structure and to create an extended career progression throughout the structure.  Management will review this proposal and have agreed to meet with us again to discuss this separate to the bargaining on Wedesday 23 May.

What is your current pay level and pay point?  How long have you been at that pay level and pay point?
Email bluecare@together.org.au with your answer.

Your claim to maintain the payout of sick leave on termination has been refused but management are open to negotiate an outcome by grandfathering this clause to existing employees with a maximum number of hours able to be paid out.  Your union delegates have not agreed to this at this time and have stated that any loss of a condition like this would need to be compensated for in the overall package.

Management have a claim asking for staff to be able to be rostered for 10 hours per day without agreement.  The current arrangement is that staff are being asked to sign an agreement at or after their commencement date agreeing to the 10 hour day.  Management are justifying this claim by saying that all staff have signed the document agreeing to this condition and the change will merely reduce the amount of paperwork.  Your union has not agreed to this management claim as there is no demonstrated method by which staff can opt out.

Blue Care have a claim to make employees produce a doctor's certificate for any absences following 5 absences in a 12 month period.  Together members have said that this is unacceptable and are completely opposed to this change.  The combined unions have put forward an alternative clause allowing management to effectively deal with absenteeism issues without leaving members open to harsh or unjust practices and requirements to unreasonably present doctor's certificates. Management have asked to come back to this claim at a later meeting.

The employer has a claim on the table that allows staff to be given work in lower paid positions, outside of their substantive position. Your union, along with the AWU and United Voice, asked for their concerns to be addressed at today's meeting.  Blue Care asked for more time to consider their answers.  Previously Blue Care has stated that they will protect the minimum contracted hours at the substantive position.  Your union delegates are concerned that many staff are currently working more than the contracted hours in their current positions and that the regularly rostered hours should be protected.  We will continue to consult with members as this claim progresses.

Management have agreed to increase the non ATO allowances by the percentage wage increases each year.  This will include the uniform and laundry allowances.

Your union discussed with management the payment of a Professional Development Allowance to give staff the opportunity to attend training courses to advance your career for higher paid jobs within the organisation.  Management aren't prepared to provide an allowance for staff to further their career and as such refused this claim.  Your union delegates will pursue this matter further during the classification discussions on 23 May.

Your union delegates remain committed to achieving agreement before 1 July 2012 and as such have proposed that bargaining meetings are held weekly in June to ensure the timely completion of the bargain.  Blue Care have agreed to this request.

The next meeting is to be held on Monday 16 May.

What should you do next?

  1. The first thing you need to do is talk to your colleagues if you think they may have concerns about their working conditions.  This information only goes to union members so there will be some workers who don't know what is happening.
  2. Ask your workmates to support each other by joining your union, Together.  You have won some changes already and there is more that can and should be won if your colleagues support your campaign for improvements by joining.  
  3. Email the answers to the questions above to bluecare@together.org.au. These need to be done as soon as possible in preparation for the next bargaining meeting on 16 May.
  4. Send your feedback and comments to your union representatives at bluecare@together.org.au.
  5. Continue to read this blog for regular updates.