This year, the Private Health Division has seen unprecedented growth in membership and in worksite activity across our coverage. Our membership within Private Hospitals, Pathology, Medical Imaging, Radiation Therapy and Aboriginal Medical Services has grown altogether by 187 new members in the last six months. This surge in union support is a sign that private health workers recognise they deserve better from their employers. It’s also testament to the tireless work that our members and staff do every day, advocating collectively to change our working lives for the better.
Delegates are essential to that mission. At our annual delegates’ conference, we passed a resolution to strive for >5.5% wage increases across the private health sector. With that goal in mind, delegates are taking a proactive approach in negotiating enterprise agreements, identifying and resolving issues in the workplace, and building a positive union culture in their worksites.
Enterprise Bargaining and Campaigning
During 2020-2021, the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant delays to enterprise agreement negotiations. This year, however, our Division began to use enterprise bargaining as an opportunity to campaign.
Campaigning isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary and when done well it can transform our working lives for the better.
Our GenesisCare members will soon finalise their first enterprise agreement. This has been a hard-fought battle, starting in 2020 with increased membership and activity within cancer care, a petition in support of a new enterprise agreement, and ongoing negotiations throughout 2022. This campaign will culminate in fairer wages and better working conditions for GenesisCare employees. It’s just one example of the obstacles we can overcome and wins we can secure through enterprise bargaining, but it’s just the beginning.
Members at Healthscope hospitals also celebrated a win earlier this year when they thwarted an attempt to make 50 positions redundant around NSW. The Union argued that these were not genuine redundancies, and the Fair Work Commission agreed. Standing together, we have been able to ensure that 75% of members in the identified positions were placed back into their substantive roles, while most of the remainder have been redeployed into different positions.
The Private Division has grown significantly in both size and activity this year, so the sky is the limit for 2023. At the heart of this success are HSU delegates. Through steady campaigning and communication on the ground, we can continue to push for positive changes to pay and conditions – equalling or even excelling the public sector equivalents