Together Medical Officers Portal

Negotiations slipping off the rails

Posted by Alex Scott on May 9, 2012

Last week we reported signs that negotiations were going off the rails. Unfortunately, this week there were more significant indications of this.

What QH is asking of its doctors far outweighs what they are willing to give and it seems as though they are expecting doctors to pull the department out of a financial black hole at their own expense. Furthermore, the Public Service Commissioner's (PSC) representative inferred that six years ago doctors received a big pay increase which should sustain them for at least another three years without cost of living increases.  Clearly PSC and QH have no corporate memory in relation to how far they needed to go to simply bring Queensland back to a position of being able to recruit and retain doctors after many years of neglecting their conditions.

PSC and QH have made it clear they will not be agreeing to cost of living increases to doctors' current entitlements unless long-fought-for benefits are given up. We cannot help but contrast the way RMOs and SMOs are being treated with the way other occupational groups were treated in their recent negotiations. Together's representatives were somewhat taken aback at a comment that it was unlikely that the DG would accept our request to attend any of our MOCA3 negotiation sessions at this (the business end) of the process even though the Minister and then Premier were actively involved in and have personally attended negotiations for other groups.
Does QH value your contribution to the public sector and the health of Queenslanders? Together strongly suggest you start considering what you might be prepared to do to change this.

The MOCA3 negotiations that started with real promise of genuine collaboration have, regrettably, shifted towards being adversarial. Two weeks ago the doors were shut on us.

Current status of negotiations on QH's key claims:

  • Wages policy 2.5% + .5 % for efficiencies.
    QH is asking for more efficiencies than other occupational groups but offering the same .5% compensation for efficiency.  It remains to be seen how the government's new "wages policy" will be applied.  This will be subject to discussion at the next bargaining meeting.
  • Flexible hours of work for SMOs.
    QH is refusing to agree to sustainable staffing levels, workload management and best practice rostering.  We have no indication of what remuneration might apply.
  • Reduction of overtime for RMOs and SMOs by averaging hours and increasing shift length.
    This is without first trying other strategies with less impact on work/life balance.
  • KPIs for managers to reduce overtime or lose their allowance
    There's no commitment to adequate resources for managers to achieve these KPIs.
  • Private Practice review to maximise billings etc.
    QH will not reference this review or the intended new direction in the agreement; decisions about the outcome of the review will not be in the hands of the parties but in the  D-G's hands; there's no security of Op A payments or guaranteed mutual benefit in any new model. A collectively bargained outcome and inclusion in MOCA3 is essential for us.
  • Regional Development Incentive monies to no longer be paid to individuals (SMOs or RMOS) but redirected to training programs
    There'll be no other incentive package in its place to improve recruitment and retention except a promise of ‘clinical and professional leadership'.
  • Change to or removal of EB clauses on collective industrial relations, replacement and reporting of staffing levels, job security to allow for more managerial prerogative and flexibility.
    Rejected in the current circumstances.

Current status of negotiations on Together's key claims:

  • PDA increase to all currently receiving it
    NO
  • PDA applied to JHOs and up
    NO but QH may commit to prevocational training in lieu
  • PDA annual adjustment
    NO regardless of the fact QH agreed to this for nurses
  • Op A supplementary benefit payments incorporated into base pay
    NO not unless it's on a no cost basis
  • Sustainable staffing levels
    NO
  • TOIL
    NO only if hours averaged over 4 weeks
  • 38 Hour week for SMOs
    NO

On the positive side of the balance sheet

QH have (this week at least) confirmed an interest in there being:

  • equitable motor vehicle entitlements for part timers;
  • payment for all forms of work on call due to changes in work practices but as yet undefined;
  • VRGP equity with FRACGP;
  • Salary Sacrifice enhancement brief going to the D-G but no guarantees of outcome or timing.

ASMOFQ now support our claim for additional classification levels for meritorious service.

It is hard to see any value in the QH proposals to date.  Unless this situation changes by next week we will be asking members for their suggestions on what they are prepared to do to pressure QH to reach a fair agreement.

Thanks to all members taking the time to email us their thoughts - keep them coming.

It is important too that you are talking to other members in your workplace about the MOCA3 negotiations and encouraging non-member colleagues to join here.

The more involvement from grass roots membership the better outcomes we will achieve together.

Address your comments to:  jenny.cannon@together.org.au.