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Hospital negotiations break down

Wednesday, 6th May, 2009

TEU and CFMEU members employed at the local hospital will stop work at 9am today following attempts by NSW Health to include a shop assistants' union with no jurisdiction to participate in negotiations for a new industrial agreement. Although the negotiations with the Barrier Industrial Council affiliated unions were nearing completion, NSW Health this week tried to dictate who would sit alongside the BIC, according to BIC President Danny O'Connor.

The attempt caused a breakdown in negotiations and led to today's stopwork meeting, which will be held at the Trades Hall. Mr O'Connor said the damands had led to an absurd situation with NSW Health trying to involve a union that isn't eligible to be part of the BIC-NSW Health agreement. "We wouldn't try to tell them who should act on their behalf." He said that the South Australian SDA had been disaffiliated with the BIC and as such could not be a party to the agreement. "It was pointed out in discussions as late as yesterday (Monday) that the Health Department had been advised in 2006 that the SDA was no longer an affiliate and was therefore no longer a respondent to BIC aggreement. "They have been advised that the union has no jurisdiction in NSW other than for shop assistants working under federal awards in Broken Hill. "The SDA is not eligible to provide industrial agreement coverage for anybody employed at the hospital." TEU secretary Ros Ferry said yesterday that the SDA could only represent retail workers under federal awards. She said they could act for an individual, but not as part of an industrial award. "Some SDA members employed at the hospital may be under the misconception that the union can represent them in these award negotiations. "Negotiation started in March and we were hoping to finalise them this week, and now they want to bring in the SDA." Employees of the hospital classified under the BIC agreement are covered by terms of the agreement, whether in a union or not. Mr O'Connor said the hospital management had been notified of the stopwork meeting and that agreement negotiations proposed for today had been adjourned until further notice. The BIC has notified the hospital that essential services employees will not be required to stop work. HSU and nurses union members are not part of the negotiations or this dispute. Any employee who is unsure whether they are involved in the stopwork meeting should contact their union. Mr O'Connor said last night he could understand why NSW Health was in such disarray, when decisions like this were being made.

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