Important information and meeting kit materials

Posted May 25, 2012 by Alex Scott

In this update: Changes to Employment in Health | Support jobs in health: download a meeting kit | Establishment Management Program | Health Practitioners Productivity Savings | EB8 | Hp Review of Appeals update

Changes to Employment in Health

In an effort to better manage public sector costs, the Government has initiated an Establishment Management Program (EMP) across the whole of Government. This is supposed to assure greater scrutiny over hiring decisions associated with non-frontline positions.

Together delegates and members in Queensland Health have major concerns that this new process will be detrimental to the health of Queenslanders.

If you are an individual who has been affected by EMP and are seeking industrial advice, contact our union office on 1800 177 244. If there is a group of members who are being affected in your area please contact your local delegates or health@together.org.au.

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Support jobs in health: download a meeting kit

Health has said that critical frontline service delivery positions are to continue to be filled “as a priority” - but in accordance with a number of bureaucratic parameters that in practice make filling positions and mean that front line members will still have to prove that they are frontline. 

Queensland Health is in a unique position in that our collective agreements explicitly state that positions must be filled within specific timeframes. Whether or not you are classed as “frontline” the fact still remains that your job is necessary and Queensland Health under the terms of your agreement should be acting to ensure vacancies do not occur.

It’s time that all Together Health workers join together to highlight the importance of all jobs within Health - and in particularly for those temporary workers who are being threatened with the prospect of losing their jobs under the Establishment Management Program.

This week saw thousands of people around the state stand together and send a message that our jobs and our services are important. You are a member of one of the country's strongest, best resourced and most democratic unions.

Now is the time to highlight just how important your jobs are, and the jobs of those around you.

Whether you are temporary or permanent, your work is necessary. It's important to you; to the people you work with and for, and to the Queensland community.

That's why we are asking members to conduct meetings in the next two weeks in your workplace to pass motions of Together Health Council delegates and to send a message that you all believe your jobs are important and should be maintained. This will be done in conjunction with a dispute notification that has been filed with the Queensland Industrial Relation Commission.

All you need to do is download a kit by

Meeting running sheet
Meeting guide
Motion

We need to have a very strong showing of support from right across the state and across every Health work site for all Health sector workers. This is how we make a difference on these issues and ensure you are heard loud and clear.

Our best defense against job cuts and unfair treatment is each other. That is why it is so important that we continue to stand together as a strong union.

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Health Practitioners Productivity Savings

Together Health Council delegates have become aware of a memo sent out to all Executive Health Directors by Lyn Rowland. 

This memo is extremely concerning as it states that productivity saving of improving the balance of clinical roles is to be achieved by filling suitable HP4 and HP5 positions at HP3 levels.  Suitable positions are deemed those which are not primarily management /supervisory focussed, where service delivery can be met appropriately by a clinical practitioner at HP3 level.

This is a rerun of the same issue that Together members argued against in 2009 and again Health is trying it on.

The memo was raised at the Health Practitioner Consultative Group last week, as Health is saying that this measure was agreed by Together and United Voice.  Union delegates of both Together and United Voice demanded that the Memo be withdrawn as the information contained in it is incorrect and misleading, this was refused. 

It is extremely important for members to note that this proposal does not affect staff employed in permanent roles.  It does not allow Management to unilaterally downgrade your position as a part of the proposal as has been reported by a number of members.  We have also been contacted by a number of locums who have been told their next contract may be at a lower level.  This is further example of inappropriate action by management.  If you are employed as a locum and are re-engaged in the same role doing the same work this should not be at a lower level.  

Health delegates are now asking Members to meet in their areas as part of the EMP meetings taking place across the state and consider the HP motion that is set out in the EMP meeting kits. 

A letter has been sent to the Director General of Health demanding that the Memo be retracted and that discussions take place to finalise agreed cost savings as part of the Health Practitioner Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. 

We would ask that all members sign the motions and either fax to 07 30176289 or email to hp@together.org.au by COB 30 May 2012.

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EB8

Certification of the EB8 agreement took place in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) on 8 May 2012.

Queensland Health has confirmed that the 3% wage increase will be applied to pays on the 27 June.

Back pay of 3% to 1 September 2011 will be paid on 25 July 2012.  If you have concerns or questions as to how this back pay will affect you please contact EB@health.qld.gov.au

Together union members have worked hard to achieve this wage increase and retained their conditions as part of the EB8 Stronger Together campaign in 2011.

Members undertook massive work bans and rallies across the state as part of this campaign to force the government to listen, which resulted in this agreement.

EB8 Celebration activities will also be organised to take place across the state when you receive your back pay.

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Hp Review of Appeals update

The most recent hearing of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission full bench on 3 May has delivered a victory for Health Practitioners seeking to disputes their Phase 2 appeal. The commission rejected Queensland Health’s submissions that the issue of back pay should be resolved before any cases are arbitrated. Together is now considering which cases to take forward.

The full bench has decided to hear the first application for a HP reclassification and use the case as a pro forma for all arbitrations that are heard. If the case successfully demonstrates that the HP should have been at a higher classification level after Phase 2, Queensland Health will be expected to abide by the decision of the commission and reclassify the individual in accordance with the effective date in the certified agreement.

Queensland Health is unlikely to change its position without a fight and not every member who has asked for a review of their role will be ultimately be successful but Together members can rest assured that your representatives will continue to work for a fair and reasonable resolution to these disputes.

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Travel Restrictions and Occupational Health and Safety

Travel restrictions have been imposed as part of the budgetary risk assessment. Qld Health has been aiming to achieve a 20% reduction in public sector travel.

Together Delegates have become aware of a memorandum file reference OHWS4542 to the District CEO’s relating to OH & S risks surrounding the cut to the travel budget. Some hazards have been identified in this document as possibly affecting workers.

The memo states that staff may now need to drive long distances to complete non-clinical business requirements rather than fly. It also states that staff may be exposed to fatigue due to the excessive periods of driving. It also states that workers may now be exposed to a long distance return trip rather than staying a motel overnight so Queensland Health can save a dollar.

Together Health Delegates are concerned that Queensland Health is putting members at risk for monetary gain. This exposes members to a range of occupational health and safety hazards. It also may mean that members are missing out on their entitlements because of working long days driving instead of staying overnight.    

If you have been affected please let email health@together.org.au

 


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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