Change the Rules with ASMOF

13-Apr-2018


How often have you heard, “Be the change you want to see in the world”?

We imagine as Doctors, you have the constant drive to see positive change - in medicine, research, innovation, the care of your patients and the health system.

But we also know you want to see changes so that you can receive fair pay rises and safer working hours, unencumbered by unfair legislation and without trading away your conditions and entitlements. We also know you want properly funded public hospitals, Departments where the staffing formulas aren’t based on patient numbers from a decade ago, greater consultation, and to spend more time with your loved ones.

The ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions) has launched a campaign called Change the Rules”. The campaign is a response to the fact that inequality is at a 70-year high and wage growth is at record lows. Private operators have greater power to dismantle your job security and cut your conditions to turn a profit.

To achieve the changes we want to see, the ACTU has committed to fighting for:

  • MORE secure jobs
  • So, you can WIN fair PAY RISES
  • So, you have RIGHTS that can be ENFORCED
  • So, you are put FIRST, not big business.

Why is this relevant to ASMOF and our Members?

More secure jobs

Job security is not guaranteed, even for doctors. Junior doctors are employed on annual contracts, creating a yearly cycle of stress and extra work preparing applications, attending formal interviews and additional informal meetings expected by many prospective employers. Currently there is a general air of malaise and uncertainty amongst members at St Vincent’s Hospital. The hospital is in the red to the tune of $13 million and has responded with a voluntary redundancy scheme, cutting payments for overtime work done by JMOs, and conducting audits into the leave of members based on errors made by the administration.

Fair pay rises

The NSW Government continues with its unfair 2.5% wage cap. And members consistently tell us that we need to campaign to change this. You should be paid a fair and reasonable wage without having to trade off essential conditions.

Enforceable rights

We have been unable to negotiate enforceable improvements to the outdated Medical Officers Award because of the Government’s unfair wages policy. The policy, and the legislation underpinning the policy, has meant that we weren’t even allowed to include core work, health and safety provisions in the Award – like the cap on shift lengths and the minimum breaks between shifts.

People before profits

The ACTU campaign also allows us to build on the wonderful success of the Keep NSW in a Healthy State campaign. In this campaign we showed we can win against attempts to privatise essential public services.

But we would not have won if ASMOF members had not helped put pressure on the NSW Government to change their mind. Without the strong support of our members, five of our regional hospitals would have become for profit operations.

We ask members to help us light a fire around Australia by supporting this campaign. As Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey is so fond of saying. “What do we do when we are under attack? Stand up, Fight back.”