Blue Care Stronger Together

Blue Care/Wesley Mission Brisbane (WMB) Allied Health, Co-ordinators and Admin Staff Negotiation Update.

Posted by Alex Scott on January 31, 2012

As most of you would know, both of your agreements expired on 31 December last year.  Blue Care/WMB management wasn’t ready to commence negotiations and as such, this has meant lengthy delays in starting that process.  Your union team met with management last week where both parties served and briefly discussed the Log of Claims. 

Suzanne Jennings and Anneke Andrews were your representatives at the Allied Health/Co-ordinators meeting and Shane Daley and Cecila Condratoff were present for the Admin negotiations.

You can see both your union log of claims (allied health/co-ordinators) here and admin staff here; and your employer's log of claims for allied health here and admin staff here. If you have a look at the two employer's logs, you will see that they are both very similar – this leads us to believe that Blue Care/WMB intend to merge the Allied Health/Coordinators agreement with Admin/Support Services and possibly the Nurses agreement sometime in the future.  Blue Care/WMB executive have already decided to merge the Admin agreement with the Support Services agreement, despite the fact they know it is unpopular with you, their valued employees. When your representatives asked why they wanted to merge them, they advised “that they had to start somewhere”. They have also advised that in Blue Care NSW, there is one agreement for all staff and that it works well for the organisation.  From these comments and the similarities between the employer’s claims, we believe their plan is to have one agreement covering all staff.

This would mean all staff mentioned would be under the one agreement.  This may have the effect of creating a situation where you have less power amongst your occupational group and a smaller voice in securing workplace changes that benefits you. 

Work-life balance has been an important issue identified when surveying members in the lead-up to developing your claims. What impact would it have on you if you were required to work longer hours?  The employer’s claim on you includes changes to shift rostering, minimum hours of work and part-time employment and accessing and taking annual leave (go here to see what these proposed changes are).

All these changes could impact on your work-life balance.

There is no indication from the employer as to the length of either agreement.  You have asked for a three-year agreement.  We expect that they will want an agreement that matches in timeframe with the Support Service and possibly the Nurses agreement.  You have asked for a 4.5% increase per annum.  Your employer in delaying the commencement of the bargain, and agreeing only to monthy meetings, has rejected a claim to guarantee your first wage increase be paid from 1 July 2012. 

Management has advised they have being consulting with clients, community groups and medical staff prior to “undertaking an exciting and significant project to design our service model for the future”.  Your union's delegates have not been invited to be involved in something that would appear to have a significant impact on staff.  Were you?  It is unclear what changes are being made, however given there was no consultation with us, and the fact that Blue Care management have already instigated redundancies in some sites in the lead up to this bargain, we believe there will be some significant changes.

What can you do?

  • Let us know what you think of the possible merger and the items tabled by your employer.
  • Get involved in the campaign for improvements in your conditions.
  • Talk to your colleagues who aren’t members of their union as they don’t receive these communications.