The Union has been in the Commission and the proceedings were, to put it mildly, a disappointment.
Monash Health, represented by the Victorian Hospitals’ Industrial Association, put the astonishing position that they now perceive that there is no need to employ additional staff. This is despite their own documentation and the independent research conducted by RMIT University into rostering practices indicating the contrary.
Apparently Monash Health maintains the view that it never offered to employ an additional 27.4 EFT but when pressed were unable to explain the document tabled to the Union setting out the EFT by site and department; or why it was given to the Union if not for the purpose of agreeing how many staff to put on.
Monash Health may come up with more staff in the April budget. But it may not. Such is the attitude of management and their concern for the safety of their staff or the safety of their patients. It’s clear that while they expect you to “act like a professional” they obviously don’t hold themselves to the same standard or expectation to “act like a professional” to ensure patient safety is maintained and the safety of staff is upheld.
Their own business cases refer to OH&S risks being of paramount concern but they now say they have no particular concerns regarding OH&S. Again, this is despite their own documentation and the reports from members about exhaustion, anxiety, burn out and lack of staff.
So what now?
- Keep Going – We urge all members at Monash to remain firm on their actions to date – do not accept extra shifts or overtime – continue taking your breaks and leaving on time and so on. We know all this is having an effect so don’t stop! Check out the article in The Age.
- Report – since Monash aren’t sure, you should report your OH&S concerns – email Kevin Ericksen and copy the Union into your email
- Talk to your OH&S reps about action you can take to address the dangerous workloads
- Where necessary put in a Riskman – report hazards through formal channels
Most importantly don’t back down from your right to a safe work environment. Monash Health’s strategy is to continue to deny there are issues and to tell the government that everything is fine.
The management is relying on the fact that concern for patient safety is so high that you’ll compromise your health and safety and do unpaid work. And this is not just the experience at Monash Health, this is an invasive workplace culture across medical pathology laboratories in the public and private sectors.