Public Sector Enterprise Bargaining Update
We are still working hard to try to finalise agreements to cover members employed across Victorian public hospitals and health services, including community health services.
After months of negotiations we still have not concluded any deals. We are not dealing with the health services directly, as they have all appointed the Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association (VHIA) as their bargaining representative.
We have been meeting with the VHIA since 20 January 2012.
In reality we are negotiating with the Victorian Department of Health (DoH). The DoH sends a representative to all negotiations, and as the major funder of public hospitals and health services in Victoria sees itself as having a particular interest in the outcomes of negotiations which have costing and funding implications. And the DoH in turn answers to the Baillieu government.
At the end of August we agreed to suspend strike action for 2 weeks to allow negotiations to continue in Fair Work Australia, with the assistance of a member of FWA. Industrial action in the form of bans remained in place. This was after the VHIA unsuccessfully tried to have our industrial action suspended by FWA.
That was 5 weeks ago. Strike action has since recommenced at a number of health services. And the other industrial action in the form of protected action bans remain in place.
By their nature the negotiations and discussions in FWA are confidential and we are unable to share proceedings with members. We have a strong bargaining team who have been attending negotiations, including members drawn from the MSAV, AHP and VPA, representing members in all our major disciplines.
We are conscious of the time ebbing away – which of course only favours the DoH and the Government.
However, indications are that we may be close to a breakthrough. We will communicate to members as soon as we can.