MOCA 3: 29 February meeting update

Posted March 2, 2012 by Alex Scott

This week at MOCA3 negotiations Together’s representatives led discussions on a number of its members’ interests under the overarching subject area of Recruitment and Retention and Equity.

Professional Development Allowance

Your MOCA 3 negotiation team re-stated an interest (logged at the commencement of negotiations) in maintaining and improving the value of the salary package and sought to discuss options including increasing the Professional Development Allowance (PDA) to $25,000 for SMOs, $5000 for vocational trainees, and extending PDA for the first time to PGY 2, 3 and 4 RMOs who are not in a training program. They also sought to discuss future automatic adjustments to PDA.  Together made submissions including that there has been no increase in PDA for 6 years, the cost of training for Registrars is high, and all health practitioners in other health professionals in QH receive some level of PDA.

It was something of a surprise to Together’s negotiators that QH and JAG objected to us raising this matter. Initially they characterised it as a wages claim that they were not willing to entertain but subsequently indicated they would look at it if there was proven problems in recruitment and retention overall or in certain locations. In our view there will never be a proven connection between the level of PDA and recruitment and retention but due consideration should nevertheless be given to a legitimate interest in maintaining the value of the package.

After a brief caucus, QH agreed to discuss the matter and indicated they do have an interest in education and providing training pathways for RMOs and this is a factor of differentiation between MO and other health practitioner groups. Costings will also now be carried out for our ‘claims’.

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Enhanced salary sacrifice consistent with entitlements at Mater, QIMR, private hospitals in Qld and public hospitals interstate

Many institutions have a form of meals reimbursement as part of their salary sacrificing package  (see http://www.remserv.com.au/file/RemServ%20Visa%20Intro%20MEPC%20FAQ%20V4.pdf.) Together submitted that extending this to public sector Medical Officers has merit as it would be able to be done at no cost to QH and would allow a seamless transition of conditions in the merger of Mater Children’s Hospital with the Royal Children’s Hospital in to create the Qld Children’s Hospital.

At this point, Queensland Health has given no indication of whether this is a shared interest although they have already declared an interest in there being smooth transition to LHHNs.

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Establishing and maintaining sustainable staffing levels and work practices

Finally, Together emphasised its members’ significant interest in there being mechanisms in place to ensure appropriate staffing levels, rostering, work/life balance, fatigue and workload management, and appropriate workplace facilities.

This subject area will probably have a whole day’s negotiations assigned to it in the near future. In the meantime Together has agreed  to provide QH with draft clauses developed but not taken up during the last round of bargaining as a starting point for discussions.

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We hope you continue to follow our blogs and give us your feedback as we go. The blog is an innovation to the union’s bargaining plan and represents an unprecedented opportunity for Medical Officers to participate in real-time in the negotiations by emailing your comments to jenny.cannon@together.org.au .  It is important too that you are talking to other members in your workplace about the negotiations and encouraging non-member colleagues to join. The more involvement from grass roots membership the better outcomes we will achieve together.

 


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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