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NSW Health proposal unanimously rejected

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019

By Michael Murphy

A move by NSW Health to bypass a local industrial agreement and strip workers of long-held benefits was met with outrage last night.

A mass meeting of unionists employed at the Far West Local Health District was held last night in a packed supper room of the Trades Hall.

The Broken Hill Town Employees’ Union has warned of the impending “industrial unrest” should the matter not be resolved soon, and has asked the NSW Industrial Relations Commission to “urgently intervene”.

The Barrier Industrial Council sought to enter into negotiations for a new industrial agreement in October last year, but to date, neither NSW Health nor the Far West Local Health District has agreed to commence negotiations.

Last week, the BHTEU was notified that NSW Health had, without any negotiation, filed an application for a new award to rescind and replace the existing BIC Agreement.

“NSW Health’s application for a new award would, if approved, have a severe and adverse financial impact on all affected employees’ terms and conditions of employment, which would result in industrial unrest,” BIC president Rosslyn Ferry said.

“The BHTEU claims that NSW Health has now breached the terms of the BIC Agreement, which expressly requires at least three months’ written notice of intention to terminate to be given to the other parties.”

The BIC had sent urgent correspondence to NSW Health requesting that NSW Health withdraw its application, filed June 28, 2019, and enter into face-to-face negotiations for a new agreement, with the BIC and affiliated unions.

NSW Health has not responded.

The previous Memorandum of Understanding signed by the parties, which provided the usual annual increase to wages and allowances, expired on June 30, 2019.

“As there has been no formal offer from NSW Health to increase the wage rates and allowances of employees employed under the BIC Agreement, employees have now had their wages frozen by their employer, NSW Health,” Ms Ferry said.

The Broken Hill Town Employees’ Union will be seeking orders by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission:

“That NSW Health comply with the terms of the BIC Agreement and discontinue its application for a new award, and enter into good faith negotiations for a new agreement with the BIC and affiliated unions,” Ms Ferry said.

There will be a teleconference this morning with the NSW Industrial Relations Commission to deal with the urgent dispute notification.

“The meeting last night resolved to notify NSW Health that the members have unanimously rejected their application, which they view with disgust,” Ms Ferry said.

“The employees have called upon the chief executive to openly and publically show his support for his staff, and their right to negotiate with their employer.

“Members want to maintain their long-standing and unique conditions, which they have fought for over many decades, some of which are currently enjoyed by senior executives.”

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