NSW Health ignores BH unionists: BIC
Saturday, 9th February, 2019
By Myles Burt
Barrier Industrial Council members employed by the health service are taking industrial action because of a dispute over pay.
The FWLHD and the NSW Ministry of Health “continued to ignore” union claims and would not enter into immediate face-to-face negotiations to resolve growing concerns, acting BIC President Ros Ferry said yesterday.
Industrial action will begin on Monday. Union members will use to their own discretion regarding the process used for billing patient services.
Also, meals from the cafeteria will be provided without charge as meal vouchers will not be collected nor requested by members.
Ms Ferry said further mass meetings and stop-work meetings would be called with the view of escalating action if matters were not resolved.
Union members are concerned about incorrectly classified positions, a new electronic health roster system that denies allowance entitlements, and the FWLHD automatically applying state awards.
“If something has been changed in the rest of the state, the Far West is always open to negotiate along those lines with the BIC,” Ms Ferry said yesterday.
“But this current administration were just applying these changes ... automatically to Broken Hill.”
She said it was difficult to get a response from management, despite repeated phone calls, emails and letters.
“Because of their change in administration and moving to a new facility, there’s always an excuse,” Ms Ferry said.
“We had to beg to get the health service to meet with us specifically.
“They just kept going round and round the mulberry bush, saying you have to deal with the Ministry for that matter, you have to deal with local people first and things like that.
“It’s just this list of concerns, claims and issues that is just growing and growing.
“It was almost weekly that I was finding that there was something else going on.
“They’re implementing decisions without consultation.
“The general manager actually said: ‘Well, there isn’t any consultation clause in the agreement’.
“It’s a given.
“Most of it centres on payment to the employee that hasn’t been paid.”
Industrial action will remain in place until further notice.
Major matters the BIC would like immediately addressed are:
* Wage claims from permanent-part time employees regarding the incorrect payment of overtime.
* Wage claims by casual employees (shift workers only) regarding payment of the casual loading on weekends, and the calculation of their respective termination payments.
* A clerical review called in 2011 to determine whether positions were being graded appropriately continues to be stalled.
* New positions had not been added to the classification schedule of the Industrial Agreement.
* The introduction of the ‘eRoster’ system in 2018 denied payment of various allowances to which members remained entitled to receive under the Industrial Agreement.
These matters are continuing to cause financial disadvantage to employees and are only some of the outstanding issues, according to the BIC.
Other matters include the updating of the current Industrial Agreement as well as the resumption of the negotiations for a new industrial Agreement, which stalled in 2013.
A spokesperson for the Far West Local Health District said the Far West LHD has regular scheduled meetings with the unions to discuss any issues or concerns they may have, and remained committed to resolving any issues raised by the unions.