Guide Dogs NSW/ACT: 2020- one last update!

It has been a huge year for all, with the world we live and work in changed forever. Throughout the year, HSU representatives and members at Guide Dogs NSW/ACT have continued to demand fairness for the GDN workforce and the clients you support. I want to acknowledge your local HSU representatives Pete McKenzie, Carolyn Bates, Carole Grayson, and Matt Wood who are fierce and tireless advocates. An outstanding positive of 2020 has been the growth of HSU membership at GDN. HSU delegate Matt Wood is very eager to share with you that our membership has grown by 38.5% this year, more than any other year and as we continue to expand. We now represent a clear majority of Client Services Staff. 

And though we’d all no doubt prefer to be on the wind down, there are still a number of issues to bring you up to date on:

Cognology & WHS Matters 

Recently, your HSU representatives met with your CEO, Dale Cleaver, along with Senior Management to discuss Cognology and WHS ​concerns as expressed by our members in our recent survey. 

Representing the majority of Client Services staff and without identifying anyone from the responses, your HSU representatives presented our detailed survey report to management. 

You can view the report by clicking here

Management have since committed to work with us to identify solutions to these concerns. The report has also been shared and coordinated with all relevant Area Managers by Senior Management. 

We have also written to the GDN Board to initiate a solution approached committee, comprised by our representatives to be established that will meet on a regular basis to discuss WHS matters and concerns building on our October survey. 

The HSU will re-survey our members early in ​February prior to meeting with Senior Management, in order to discuss and progress solutions to our concerns. 

GDMI Entry Pathways Consultation

As you have been aware, management have been floating the potential for changes to the Entry Pathways to become fully qualified GDMI's. Any change to this, will also without a doubt affect the O&Ms profession. 

Last week, your HSU representatives met with senior management as well as their representative, Bob Davidson from Davidson Workplace Solutions to further progress consultation regarding the various draft proposals. 

The HSU have strongly presented and lobbied our position all along. That is, we believe that some of the proposed changes to the current GDMI entry pathway will devalue the profession of GDMIs and O&Ms and compromise the quality and safety of client ​service delivery. Specifically, any pathway should result in a candidate achieving the completion of the new Graduate Diploma in O & M and include at least some level of experience working with O & M clients prior to completing GDMI modules. 

Further, we believe any change in pathways may undermine the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Enterprise Agreement 2019-2022 regarding pay and progression and will lead to a potential industrial dispute on this matter. 

Management did not give any indication as to how or when they plan to make their final decision in the new year. We are keeping all our options open ​dependent on whether any change will be made by management. 

Your HSU representatives in the meantime have also met with representatives from the peak body, OMAA, as well as senior political personnel who have given their support to our position. We will keep you updated as this progresses on into the new year. 

Thank you Carolyn Bates

Some of you may already know, Carolyn Bates will be stepping down as an HSU delegate in the new year. 

Carolyn being a senior member of her profession specialising in Children's O&M service has been there from the beginning for us.

Over the past 5 years, Carolyn has been instrumental in representing ​members on ​a number of issues as a union delegate, having ​led from the front even during the most hostile periods for the union at GDN ​several years ago ​with two appearances at the Fair Work Commission.​ Her contribution during this period resulted in the establishment of the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Enterprise agreement. 

Carolyn has laid a foundation for us and without her work and the experience, knowledge, and can we say articulation she brings to the table, we would not be in the strong position we are in today at GDN. 

We thank her for her contribution and wish her well.  

A Safe and Merry Christmas from us! 

This year has without a doubt brought many challenges for us and we have all persevered.  Again your HSU delegates, Pete McKenzie, Carolyn Bates, Carole Grayson, Matt Wood have worked through many of these challenges on behalf of the membership as they were each presented to us.  

As usual, should you have any questions or concerns, please contact your HSU Representatives or your HSU Organiser, Thomas Gao thomas.gao@hsu.asn.au

During the holiday season, our union office will be operating as usual, just call 1300 478 679 or email your HSU Organiser, Thomas. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us! 

In unity,

Gerard Hayes 

Secretary HSU NSW/QLD/ACT