Bi-annual update on union activities at Waitemata DHB
2017 has been an eventful year with political highs and lows, bargaining underway and feedback from members that they are busier than ever.
Yes We Care
Simon Oosterman coordinated the Yes We Care campaign taking our well-travelled cut outs up and down the country and 606 shoes for suicide awareness that received international attention. With PSA members, some wonderful WDHB volunteers, and public support we made health and mental health top election issues. All bar two parties committed to our pledges including restoration of health funding and the mental health review. To see what we got up to and how to get involved check out https://www.yeswecare.nz/
PSA & Mental Health
A survey of community mental health (MH) members helped establish preliminary issues around workloads. We’ve been in the media regarding safe staffing levels and on The Nation talking about the challenges facing services. Staff concerns about health and safety in the workplace led to beds again being closed at He Puna Waiora with improvements to rostering, recruitment and engagement occurring. The government has also agreed to engage with the PSA and Etū on the Equal Pay claim to extend the care and support agreement to MH community support and addiction support workers.
PSA & Clerical
We met with WDHB and commenced a small working group to support implementation of Clerical Merit processes. We have a WDHB delegate representative on the Future Workforce Project to review career pathways, progression, placement, training and remuneration. We encourage members, and those interested in joining the PSA, to attend pre-bargaining meetings to get an update on the PSA’s work for Clerical Equal Pay.
Bargaining is underway for four of our large health Multi Employer Collective Agreements (MECA’s) with the fifth to commence in the new year. Mental health and public health nursing bargaining continues with the next meeting dates being coordinated. Allied, public health and technical (APHT) discussions have occurred in the areas of fair pay, leadership, training and development, career pathways and workloads. The Clerical MECA is due to expire 28/03/18 with members pre-bargaining claims meetings being run at WDHB from Jan 9th to 18th 2018. Not sure where to find a copy of your MECA, go to our contracts page.
Customary Close Downs & Shift Cancellations
With changes to employment legislation to end zero hour contracts (another union movement win), employers are no longer able to place unreasonable limits on secondary employment and must pay for availability if this is required. At this time of year it can be confusing between close downs and slowdowns (quieter service periods), particularly for casual staff. Services are obliged to give reasonable notice of a seasonal closedown and may only do so once a year. If a public holiday falls on what would otherwise be a working day staff should be paid for this. If a staff member has been rostered and the service later cancels, this is required to be paid or for them to be redeployed. Shifts can still be cancelled without penalty by mutual agreement or shift swops.
The beginning of the year is often a time where staff reflect on their roles, whether they want to continue, are happy maintaining or can grow in a new direction. We have seen an increase this year in enquiries from members about transferring entitlements and retiring gratuities. For some, flexibility in hours or a move to part time to pursue other life goals can provide a balance.
If considering a change of hours, it pays to have a discussion with your manager or HR about the impact on annual leave and sick leave as this becomes pro-rated moving forward. Long service leave is slightly different as a special condition we have in our MECA’s over and above the legislation. Because it is calculated in ‘weeks’ not days, any unused balance also becomes pro-rated. Our suggestion to members is that they use their long service leave before reducing hours.
Changes to your Health Organising Team
Congratulations to Simon on taking up the national PSA campaign role and we welcomed Ian in July. Leisa will continue to cover until late Jan and a new organiser will be working with Ian from mid-Feb.
The PSA xmas close down is from Dec 22nd 2017 to Jan 8th 2018. Messages will be cleared from the Organising Centre (0508) 367 772 for urgent business only. For payroll matters, as always first talk to your manager or contact firstname.lastname@example.org The quickest way to address pay issues is to log via the SSC portal on the WDHB intranet page.
You can find previous copies of our newsletters and activities here