At publication time for the last Unified magazine, the Secretary and I had just completed a visit to bushfire-affected areas of the state. Since then we have encountered yet another hurdle that 2020 has thrown our way, in the form of COVID-19. Once again, our members are on the frontline in some very unsettling situations. All divisions of the Union have been out and about offering support to our members, along with much-needed HSU hand sanitiser and even chocolates which have been kindly donated to front line health workers.
Public Health teams, both regional and metro, have been dealing with issues arising in all areas of the hospitals and have secured some great wins around the state. The team has been actively pursuing the conversion of casual members to permanency, ensuring that HSU members come first as LHDs acknowledge the need to expand their workforce. This process is well underway. We have also heard the message loud and clear that many of our permanent part time workers are working well above their contracted hours. Your HSU Public Health managers, Rob Sheehy and Josh Howarth, are addressing this issue as well in consultation with LHDs and HealthShare.
We have also decided that it’s time some of our members working in underappreciated classifications are properly recognised. We know you do vitally important work, but it’s important that other people know too! So whether you work in Cleaning, Food Services, Linen, Wardspersons, Administration, Allied Health, CSSD or Engineering, look out for your special day. Lastly, it brings me great pride and happiness to report that Deputy Manager of the Industrial Division, Brendan Edghill, has achieved what many might have thought impossible. For many years, Forensic Technicians have been working hard to receive recognition for the work they do – not only in a financial sense, but also in terms of progression within this very important yet challenging field. Brendan and Dave Hodgson, HSU representative from the Newcastle Forensic Techs, have worked tirelessly toward this end. The hard work has finally paid off, with an award variation recently being reached.
These members deserve the warmest congratulations for not giving up despite a very difficult uphill struggle. It makes me so proud to finally know that these hardworking people, who perform the most difficult of tasks (something most people would not be able to do) have finally achieved this fabulous win. For those of you in the Newcastle region that know me, you know how much this means to me – and I know how much it means to you. Once again, we at the HSU wish to thank you for the incredible work you do in protecting the people of NSW. I wish you the best in your workplaces and may all your struggles be successful!