Happy New Year and welcome back for 2017. This year will certainly be a big year for the Union.
We’ve picked up where we left public sector bargaining at the end of last year – still waiting for an offer after 6 months of negotiations.
There remains ongoing frustration with the State Labor Government and public sector hospitals as they continue to drag their heels on responding to our key claims. And unfortunately we are not seeing any change to this strategy despite it being a fresh new year. Despite working with the government, the department and hospitals, we’re continuing to have circular discussions that result in no progress being made.
Needless to say, we will continue to pursue our claims through the negotiations in our typical ‘no-compromises’ way. Hopefully we have a breakthrough next week.
We’re continuing our work on “No Pay? No Way!” which continues to be a major campaign for the Union and as the EBA negotiations have illustrated there continues to be an expectation that members do more with fewer resources and staff. And this year we’re going to start including in our “No Pay? No Way!” survey questions about your health and well-being. It is still that case that too many members are doing unpaid work and allowing poor management practices to continue. By doing unpaid work you’re putting additional pressure on yourself and letting your managers off the hook for not properly managing workloads and staff needs.
We will increase efforts to bring to light examples of quality standards being compromised, particularly in contracted pathology services. Stay tuned for some news on this front.
And of course we’re going to be working with other unions to protect our hard won Paid Parental Leave scheme along with fighting back against cuts to Medicare, including the introduction of co-payments. We’re already seeing people deciding not to go to the doctor because of the rapidly increasing out-of-pocket expenses, including for pathology tests. And we’re now getting more and more reports that people are choosing to not get pathology tests done because of the co-payments.
Plus we’re going to continue to advocate for our super funds to cease investing in projects contributing to climate change and the need for our healthcare system to do more to address the increasing health risks associated with climate change. Working with the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) we were disappointed to find out that there is no ongoing dialogue about climate change within our healthcare system and that many people working in healthcare don’t know if their health service has environment policies or how their health service may be attempting to address the impacts on our health because of our rapidly changing climate.
2017 presents challenges for the Union but we’re eager to confront them. We know working together we can continue to fight for decent jobs and healthy careers.