Since August the Union has been in negotiations with your employers for a new enterprise agreement. After many meetings your employer still hasn’t made any significant offers to our claims. Not a single wage offer, or offer to review key allowances, nor any offers on key conditions of employment claims.
Apart from wage increases, the claims we developed together are designed to address key concerns of members, such as career progression; high workloads, staffing levels and systemic use of unpaid work. These are claims to make sure that you’re valued and respected.
So far we have had 3 months and 20 meetings worth of push back, obfuscation and a talk-fest.
On one hand, your employers’ have made claims to reduce conditions in a number of very significant ways, including claims to dismantle current Higher Qualifications Allowance payments and to change Pharmacists to shift workers. On the other hand, claims to redress workload and fatigue, critical issues our members are very anxious about, are being ignored.
It’s no wonder we get comments from members about their fears of going to work under extreme pressure to get through mountains of work, all too often coming in early, working through meal breaks or staying late. We have members tell us about the stress they feel dealing with their workloads or the stress of not having any obvious career path to make the ‘pain’ worth it.
At a time when your employers should be valuing your work and respecting your professions, they turn around and demonstrate their contempt. This is especially the case given the huge demand and expectation on Victoria’s public healthcare system.
It’s unacceptable employers have chosen to stonewall instead of genuinely responding to our claims and negotiating with our hard-working bargaining team. After 3 months, it’s clear that your employers are not engaging in negotiations in good faith, and unless they respond to our claims very soon, we are left with few options other than to take protected industrial action.
It is hollow for them to say how much healthcare workers are heroes if they can’t even respond to our claims. If we want to make sure you’re valued and respected, we will begin work in the new year to prepare for industrial action.
You don’t need to do anything right now but it’s important that we informed you about the progress of enterprise agreement negotiations and get you thinking about our response in early 2021.
We will keep you informed about protected industrial action, how you can support it and what that means for you.