EB10 Negotiations update - 6 August
Today I attended EB10 negotiations for our new collective agreement alongside other members including Jane Orbell-Smith, Chris Parker, Bronia Renison, Vikki Ivers and Suzanne Asker.
We covered claims regarding flexible working arrangements and employee welfare, as well as some discussion about temporary employees (more discussion of temp-to-permanent conversion will occur as scheduled for 20 August). As a librarian, our members also had the chance to raise our claims in relation to our professional issues which need to be addressed through this round of bargaining. Here are some of the highlights to report back from the discussions.
Librarians professional claims
Our Health Librarian members are a group of workers sitting in the PO stream who experience issues of undervaluing our work, compared to roles with similar qualifications or similar levels of responsibility across Queensland Health. We have brought a strong and well researched case for why this should be reviewed during the life of the next agreement. We have also sought the application of staffing levels in the HLA, Guidelines for Australian Health Libraries, 4th ed, 2008, which in effect would restore many library positions which were lost through job cuts under the Newman Government. These and other claims were spoken to by our members today and the evidence is strong. We’ve made the arguments and now we are awaiting a response.
Like many professional groups of Together members we know the way to address this is in bargaining as a strong union. Today, we did all we could inside the negotiation room to put the case forward. Now we will be talking with our other members and non-members to ensure that we are ready to campaign for these important changes in our working conditions.
Flexible Working arrangements
Our member EB surveys showed that flexible working arrangements is one of the key issues for EB negotiations. The obstacles to access these need to be looked at and addressed. The unintended negative impacts of accessing flexible working arrangements need to also be understood and addressed. Together raised these issues, and argued for improved rights to flexible working arrangements (including nine-day fortnights and leave on half pay).
Currently there is not a requirement for Qld Health to have a process for compassionate transfers. It is often left to individual employees to approach HHSs and they are then told to apply for advertised positions when these come up. That’s not good enough and doesn’t deal with the needs of employees, including those affected by domestic or family violence.
Together members put forward strong arguments for a formal process to be established for consideration of compassionate transfers including across HHSs. The arguments were compelling and were hard for Department of Health to argue against. If we can achieve this in bargaining it will be one more important improvement that makes a real difference in the lives of our members.
We now have less than 4 weeks until the agreement expires. To ensure that these claims are successful, members are preparing what types of actions they are willing to do to in their workplaces.
Next week we will be discussing wages and other wage and superannuation related claims.
If some of your colleagues are not members, ask them to join online here. It’s time for them to join you in our campaign for better working conditions for all our members.