Taking the challenge up to ACL

ACL wants to make 35% of the scientific staff in the Barwon Health pathology laboratory redundant. ACL’s intention to achieve this staggering reduction is based, by their own admission, on their drive to “improve cost efficiencies.”

A very distant consideration for ACL, a private equity business, is quality pathology services, and patient safety standards. The welfare of staff impacted by this jobs raid appears to have slipped from ACL’s corporate consciousness.

The redundancies proposed by ACL will inevitably result in the pathology service being further downgraded putting patient safety at risk and increasing the OH&S issues for the remaining staff. It’s truly a disgraceful act by ACL to make such changes over the summer holidays – further risking people’s health and well-being in order to make higher profits.

Unfortunately ACL refuses to undertake this massive change in good faith, which is why we have ended up in the Fair Work Commission.

The Fair Work Commission has commenced dealing with the the dispute notifications made by the MSAV and VAHPA in relation to the proposed changes and redundancies in the Barwon lab. The FWC conducted a conciliation conference which resulted in ACL agreeing to a new, hopefully fairer, process of dealing with all of the issues we have raised and changed key dates as follows:

  • The date for submitting an expression of interest is extended until Wednesday 23 January.
  • ACL has agreed to suspend the proposed implementation date of 4 February for the changes to commence. The FWC will conduct a second conciliation on 13 February where this date will be discussed amongst other matters that have not been resolved.

For those members that have decided to not submit an expression of interest, nothing has changed, and there remains no obligation for you to do so.

It again highlights what the MSAV has been saying about private providers operating pathology services in public hospitals – it’s not about patient safety; it’s all about money and profits.

Paul Elliott

Read our comments to the Geelong Advertiser (subscription required) and Geelong Indy. Follow more of the story here.

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