Now that lockdowns have lifted, HSU Organiser Lisa Ronneberg has been out and about, visiting worksites and catching up with members in the Disability sector. Lisa recently visited Disability services in the ACT, Illawarra and the Central Coast, welcoming new members and catching up with existing members and delegates. Read about some of the highlights and developments across the Disability sector below.
If you would like to organise a visit to your workplace or discuss any issues, please contact [E-Mail not displayed]
NextSense staff vote in favour of new Agreement
Earlier this month, staff at NextSense overwhelmingly voted in favour of the new NextSense Enterprise Agreement after a lengthy process that began back in August 2020.
The mammoth process saw the merging of ten separate Agreements and Awards into one, with six different unions or union branches representing their members at the bargaining table. Thanks to the diligent and professional work of HSU Bargaining Reps who worked tirelessly on the new Agreement, HSU members have been looked after with their needs and concerns being addressed during the process.
“HSU members were able to contribute to the process as staff ‘on-the-ground’ and make sure it [the new Agreement] meets our needs. We all want NextSense to be a viable organisation long into the future retaining its excellent specialist staff and able to attract new staff,” said HSU Bargaining Representative Maree, who works as an Audiologist.
HSU Bargaining Rep Jacqui from Gosford also emphasised the importance of having HSU members represented, adding, “It was totally exhausting but a good experience to be a part of understanding our work entitlements. It was important to have HSU members at the table during the bargaining process to ensure all staff had a fair say in their future.”
HSU Bargaining Rep Emma, who works as a Speech Pathologist, said the bargaining process was much bigger and more involved than she had imagined but was grateful for the support of the HSU. “As hard and long as the process was, it was a very positive process to be involved in.”
“I was very grateful for the support of fellow bargaining reps being there to discuss ideas thoughts and concerns. It was great to have the support of the HSU to provide advice and suggestions specific to our concerns,” said Emma. The NextSense Agreement will now be lodged with Fair Work. The HSU will update members on the outcome.
Importance of Health and Safety Representatives
Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) are staff elected positions. The role and functions of HSRs are underpinned and protected by Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws, giving HSRs a powerful voice in their workplace to raise and resolve health and safety issues with their employer. The HSR role is actively supported by the HSU. HSRs are not the same as an employer appointed staff member to a WHS committee. An HSR is elected by workers, represents workers, and must be consulted with by your employer on all WHS matters.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT (GDN) are the latest group of workers to undertake the process of electing HSRs. Staff at GDN will soon receive a call for nominations and elect their new HSRs. Well done to Guide Dogs members!
If your workplace does not have a HSR, or you would like to find out more information about how to elect a HSR, please read the factsheet on HSRs that can be found on the HSU website or contact the HSU at [E-Mail not displayed]
Call for HSU Delegates
Are you friendly, open and approachable, and care about ensuring a good workplace for you and your workmates? Consider becoming a workplace delegate!
Your union needs representatives from your workplace to ensure HSU members’ views and interests are represented, and that your colleagues are supported when assistance is needed. For more information about the role of delegate and how to elect a delegate in your workplace, contact [E-Mail not displayed].
The HSU has produced a range of factsheets and resources for HSU members working in Disability Services. Some topics include:
WHS Consultations for Disability Workers
Stopping Workplace Bullying
Rostering for Disability Workers under the SCHADS Award
Contract Hours for Disability Workers under the SCHADS Award
Members are encouraged to visit the HSU website to download the factsheets, share them with your work colleagues, and put up on noticeboards in your workplace.