As more restrictions are eased, and we head towards the next phase of managing the pandemic, whatever that looks like, we need to ensure the immense pressure you’ve been under is addressed in a meaningful and lasting way.
Wage negotiations are coming up for a lot of you and there’ll be plenty more about that in the next few weeks.
We’re also heading towards a federal election, but, at the time of writing, Commonwealth funding for public health has been a glaring omission from the major parties – hopefully before 21 May we’ll be able to provide updates about who is making what commitment.
DCT workers still in the dark
We met with union members across the state to discuss the planned scuttling of the Department of Communities Tasmania, and workers in Children, Youth and Families are particularly concerned given what happened when those services were moved to Education in South Australia.
The overwhelming issue is that there’s no reasonable explanation of the rationale behind the proposal and absolutely no detail about how workers will be affected, so members at all of our meetings passed the following motion unanimously:
“Members need more information about the changes that will directly affect them and their clients to be provided without further delay. Members cannot meaningfully engage in any change process without the relevant information. If change is imposed upon our service area members resolve to consider industrial action until the relevant information is provided.”
Unions have written to the new Premier to seek a meeting to discuss what we see as an announcement without the required substance.
Whilst various areas of DCT are already in the throes of substantial reform, we also have no information on how those reforms will continue or what will happen with those elements.
At any rate, the current timeline for change is completely unachievable and workers have a right to be provided with all relevant information about changes that affect them. If you don’t fight, you lose.
COVID allowance not a priority for your employer
Unions want an allowance for everyone who works throughout a COVID level 3 escalation, but the government said they’ll only consider paying one if the level 3 escalations last 42 days or more.
They’ve now comeback and said they’ll reduce the 42 days to 30 days, but we told them that’s completely unacceptable and we’ll head to membership meetings to discuss industrial action if we can’t reach an agreement.
The governmental so indicated their intention to withdraw from the Domestic and International Hotels Quarantine Agreement. Many members who work in these settings are currently receiving an allowance. We’ve been trying to renegotiate this agreement, but the government’s wish to cease payments is not accepted by any unions.
We’ll update you once we get a final position from the government, but if that doesn’t happen this week, we’ll be out to see you and discuss our next options.
RHH workers demand better on safety
Environmental Services worker at the Royal Hobart Hospital stood up and said “no more” after a safety issue they’d raised couldn’t be fixed. For some reason, other workers decided they didn’t have to wear a mask when an ESO entered their area to clean their office.
ESOs asked nicely, then escalated the issue, but were still faced with faces – not faces wearing masks – which is part of the public health order designed to keep everyone safe.
The ESOs met and decided their safety is just as important as anybody else’s. They voted to take action due to unsafe work practices and banned the cleaning of any area where its occupant refuses to wear a mask, and that ban will remain until the requirement for mask-wearing is lifted.
HACSU members who stick together and demand better always win.
AHP membership meeting coming to a venue or a computer near you
Allied and other health professionals working across the public sector are due to negotiate a replacement agreement and you should’ve received your draft log of claims if you’re an AHP. We’ll be out and about to meet with you wherever we can to talk about the claim and we’ll set up some online meetings for those who can’t get there.
We want to achieve some massive changes and we can only do that together, so if you have a workmate who isn’t a union member, have a chat with them about joining today. Keep an eye out for a meeting in your area soon.
Personal leave and statutory declarations
We’ve received a heap of calls lately about statutory declarations and personal leave. If you’re covered by the Health and Human Services (Tasmanian State Service) Award, you can provide a stat dec in certain circumstances, and anyone who says you can’t is wrong.
The Award clearly states that if it’s not reasonably practicable for you to get a medical certificate, a statutory declaration made by you stating the circumstances and the reasons for which leave is required is to be provided.
This is coupled with your entitlement to take up to 38 hours in aggregate of personal leave in any personal leave year without being required to provide evidence, except where an absence is for 3 or more consecutive days.
It can only be provided where it’s not “reasonably practicable” to see a doctor, but we all know that quite often you can’t get in to see one.
The other issue is that we believe the current evidence provisions about personal leave in the public sector are less beneficial than the national employment standards, so we’ll make sure we make that known as we enter into negotiations for the public sector unions wages agreement.
Don’t forget to complete the PSUWA survey
A survey about what you want in the public sector unions wages agreement has been released for members to complete. If you haven’t yet taken part in our PSUWA survey, you can complete the survey by visiting this link: Public Sector Unions Wages Agreement Survey
There’s also a paper version for you to fill in. Keep an eye out for meeting invites, and be sure to get involved and have your say!
HACSU holiday homes
HACSU owns and operates member-only holiday homes in three amazing locations across Tasmania: St Helens, Sandy Bay and Southport. Our holiday homes are fully furnished and fitted out with everything you’ll need, and they’re a way for members and their families to have a getaway at very affordable rates.
One way we keep the rates low for members is by asking that everyone clean the homes before leaving to ensure the place is neat and tidy for the next member and their loved ones. So there’s a vacuum, broom and mop/bucket at every property for members to help keep our holiday homes clean. Everyone doing a bit means we can all afford a getaway.
HACSU represents you, HACSU supports you
Thanks for the amazing work you’re doing to support our community. If you have an urgent matter that needs to be addressed, you can call HACSUassist on 1300 880032 or email us at email@example.com
You can contact HACSUassist between 8am and 6pm Monday to Thursday and 8am to 5pm on Fridays, about anything in this newsletter or any other concern, however small you feel your issue might be.
Be strong, take care and stay safe - we’re proud to represent you.