It hasn’t been an easy year so far. We have been dealing with dramatic cost of living increases, forcing many workers to their breaking point; and new state and federal governments that promised sweeping changes before elected, only to get cold feet once installed in their cushy offices.
HSU members have always had to fight for everything we’ve got: every increase, every right, every condition. We aren’t about to give up now. I’ve been yet again floored by the incredible fortitude and fighting spirit expressed by HSU members. In every industry, every workplace, we are standing up for better.We’re celebrating a significant win as the NSW Government recently announced the removal of car parking fees for regional hospitals.
This is a great first step towards our main aim: free parking for all health workers. No one should have to pay to park at their place of work. This first win could never have happened without HSU members standing up together, so we have to keep the pressure on to realise our aims in the long term.
Members in aged care have experienced a massive boost to pay thanks to the combined efforts of members through the HSU’s Work Value Case and the recent national minimum wage decision. This is changing the lives of aged care workers and the people that they look after – but there is still more to do.
Private Health members are uniting to drive a movement for improved wages and conditions through determined enterprise bargaining. We are determined to put an end to the imbalance we see in private hospitals, imaging and pathology services.
Lastly, I want to address the historic vote by HSU members working in NSW Health hospitals and health facilities. This July, nearly 14,000 members participated in an incredible expression of this union’s democracy, resulting in the decision to accept the government’s offer of a $3502 increase to base pay rates across the board. To ensure everyone had their say, the vote was conducted through face-to-face meetings and an online vote.
It makes me very proud to see our amazing and diverse membership stepping up and having their say. It’s true that not everyone will be thrilled with this result, but that’s why our union is a proudly democratic organisation. There can be no doubt that the pay offer will transform the lives of members in lower-paid positions – ensuring that members can continue to put food on the table in some very stretched situations.
Meanwhile, we’re getting on with the job of kickstarting award reform for allied health professional members – which will address outdated job descriptions, address staffing and workloads, provide for improved career progression, and bring in rates of pay that value the complexity of professional work.