HSU COVID-19 Update
This week we’ve been supporting members in both the public and private sectors whose employers have failed to properly consult staff on the impacts of business downturns as a result of COVID-19; some positive but modest announcements from the State Government, and a mixed bag from the Federal Government on JobKeeper and changes to EBA voting timelines.

Read on for these updates, and remember to share this information with your co-workers.

BreastScreen SA

HSU officials have met with BreastScreen SA management twice this week after consulting with members who raised some urgent concerns about a serious lack of consultation and backdating standing down staff. HSU officials made it clear to management that we were not confident that all redeployment or alternative work options had been adequately explored, and will raise our concerns directly with State Government.

Clinpath

We were disappointed to learn that in response to the downturn in business because of the Corona Virus, Clinpath took the decision to email staff on the day before the Easter long weekend to request they use up their leave entitlements or take leave without pay. Furthermore, Clinpath required staff to make this decision by the end of the first day back at work after the long weekend, when staff did not have access to financial, industrial, or mental health support.

Not only is it totally unacceptable to put the onus on staff members to make difficult decisions for the sake of the employer, it is also a blatant breach of the Clinpath EBA and the Fair Work Act.

Clinpath has since backtracked on their decision, but continue to disregard HSU’s demands for genuine and meaningful consultation and to make decisions that cause uncertainty and stress for workers. The HSU is writing again to Clinpath, highlighting these concerns and raising their failure to consult with HSU.

The HSU will continue working with members at Clinpath to ensure working rights and conditions are upheld.

Free car parking and public transport for public sector hospital staff

In some good news, the State Government has announced that:

  • Staff carparking fees paid via payroll deductions across SA Health metro hospitals will be waived
  • Staff will be able to access free public transport upon the presentation of a hospital employee ID
  • Up to $101 will be reimbursed for non-site related parking

Check out the FAQ sent to staff for further details.

Steven Marshall backtracks on SA Pathology Privatisation

We are pleased to hear that Premier Steven Marshall has this week publicly backtracked on plans to privatise SA Pathology. Essential health services should not be run for the sake of profit- this would put our entire community at risk at times like these when a surge workforce is required but which may not be profitable for a private company. Privatisation would mean the loss of some of our most important health workers from not only the public health system but also from the state.

Expanded testing and workloads

Yesterday kicked off two weeks of expanded testing for COVID-19 – as always, if you have concerns about workloads, PPE or other workplace health and safety matters, make sure to get in touch with the HSU on info@hsusant.org.au

Now is an important time for everyone, but especially frontline health workers, to have access to the protection and expert advice and advocacy that comes with Union membership. If you’re not a member yet, sign up here: https://hsusant.org.au/join/

JobKeeper

This week legislation for the JobKeeper payment and some changes to JobSeeker was passed by the Federal Government. This includes a raising of the threshold for your partner’s income – you are now eligible for JobSeeker payments if you are not working and your partner earns less than $79,762, up from $48,000.

Read this useful article from the Guardian, explaining which workers and employers are eligible for the payment, and your employer’s obligations under the scheme.

Changes to EBA’s

This week the Federal Government announced that for the next six months, employers can require workers to vote on proposed changes to an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement within 24 hours, supposedly to allow businesses to “respond quickly to save businesses and jobs.” We’ve already seen employers in the health sector try to force changes on workers that violate their EBA – this new provision means that employers can force through a vote on your EBA to make changes that reduce your working rights and conditions.

The HSU condemns the Government’s decision to allow employers this extraordinary power that undermines worker’s rights, especially at a time when workers are already incredibly vulnerable, and many staff are not in the workplace to be informed of changes.

Check out The New Daily for further information here or watch ACTU Secretary Sally McManus explain these changes here. As Sally says, if your employer asks you to vote on changes to your EBA, make sure to notify the HSU immediately – and vote NO until your employer provides you with a fair timeline and genuine consultation.

In Union.

HSU is the members, the members are the HSU

Join the HSU by clicking here or by contacting us on (08) 8279 2255 /  info@hsusant.org.au

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