Mater: You have the Power.

Posted on February 10, 2020

Today’s ballot result shows that a majority of Mater HPs won't accept cuts to their conditions at work.

Out of 631 staff on the HP agreement, Together Mater members are the majority. 65% of HPs rejected cuts to their conditions. (See the full results of their ballot here).

Over the past 9 months Mater members have built a strong union, signed petitions, wore stickers, stopped work, rallied, taken industrial action, held morning teas, voted no and most importantly, spoke with their colleagues about standing together.

All of this action has fended off attacks on their conditions at work. What this ballot showed them is that their power as staff shouldn’t be taken for granted, that Management should approach them with compassion, respect for worth, integrity and professionalism, not cuts and changes to their detriment.

In recent communications from Mater management, they stated the following:

Mater Management “are disappointed to confirm that the Enterprise Agreement (EA) was not approved”.

The ballot result has sent a clear message. Union delegates at the negotiation table have been accurately representing the view of a majority of staff, of which Mater management have refused to hear or acknowledge.

Mater management have clearly had a predetermined view and position. During the last 9 months, most discussions at negotiations have been about management wanting to cut staff conditions. Management did not expect union members to be organised and prepared to take action on issues that they care about.

Mater management also stated that “all items will now be reconsidered and as previously communicated any future package may not compare favourably to the proposed EA”.

The key sticking point of a majority of staff have been advised to Mater management at many meetings. This threat, to make things worse, is a typical strategy – if management were to apply the Mater Values – they could address the sticking points and negotiate without a predetermined position.

Next Steps: 

Over coming days, union delegates will be meeting to endorse a plan for next steps. The general plan is as follows:

  1. Seek that Mater management meet again to address main issues. These include limiting contracting out, removing a two tier wage structure, a respectful wage offer and keeping the hours of work clause.
  2. If Mater management reject meeting, union members will escalate industrial and collective action.
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