Office Accommodation Important Update – ASMOF takes NSW Health to Arbitration



ASMOF returned to the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) on Monday regarding its dispute with the Ministry of Health ( MOH) over the failure to consult with the Union when they rescinded the office accommodation policy directive PD2005_576 ( Policy Directive) and the potential breach of clause 24 of the Staff Specialists (State) Award 2018 ( Award).

Since ASMOF lodged the dispute last year, the MOH developed a draft policy directive seeking to enforce hot desking and open plan offices in NSW hospitals. ASMOF argues that the draft policy is therefore in breach of clause 24 of the Award as it deprives staff specialists of their entitlement to enclosed office accommodation.

ASMOF responded to the draft policy directive in a lengthy submission which included extensive academic research proving that hot desking and open plan offices are detrimental to productivity, collaboration, confidentiality and in the long term, costs. The MOH however has ignored this research, and your feedback in respect to the impact that open plan offices would have on your role as a staff specialist, which we also included in our submission.

After rejecting ASMOF's submissions and amendments to the draft policy directive, the MOH indicated at the last report back in the IRC earlier this year that they were ready to promulgate the draft policy directive. As such, at Monday's directions hearing at the IRC ASMOF sought that the matter proceed to arbitration where the issue of the interpretation of clause 24 of the Award will be determined.

Arbitration will commence in late July 2019 and during the interim ASMOF will file evidence in respect to the interpretation of clause 24 of the Award.

In order to do this, we will require your help - we need members to let us know how your particular craft group and or role necessitates an enclosed office space by emailing

In addition to the above matter, ASMOF has also lodged disputes against SWSLHD in respect to the Campbelltown and Liverpool Hospital redevelopments on the basis that SWSLHD failed to properly consult with the Union. These matters were heard before the Commission on Wednesday where the parties agreed to hold Union Specific Consultative Committee (USCC) meetings in the first two weeks in May 2019. At Liverpool Hospital's USCC, management will be providing a presentation on the redevelopment including an explanation as to what departments will be affected by the redevelopment, which has been issue for the Union and members to ascertain at many redevelopments. In addition to this information, Liverpool management will also be required to report on their efforts to consult with members so far.

In respect to the Campbelltown Hospital redevelopment, ASMOF will be meeting with management next week to discuss the report produced by Six Ideas, who were engaged to advise the hospital and consult with staff in respect to their office accommodation needs. ASMOF will then have the opportunity to put forward it's position by 16 April 2019. Until then, management has assured ASMOF that a decision in respect to office accommodation arrangements will not be made.

ASMOF encourages members to attend these USCC meetings so that you can raise any concerns that you may have in respect to the redevelopment and to show management how important the maintenance of your Award rights is.

ASMOF will also be meeting with management at Nepean Hospital on 10 April 2019 at 10am for a USCC meeting to discuss relevant information that ASMOF has requested in respect to the office accommodation arrangements of staff specialists during both the transitionary and final stages of the redevelopment. As Nepean members might recall, management posed the option of creating office space in between the buildings as they recognised housing all craft groups on one level away from their service areas is illogical and unfeasible.

ASMOF will be contacting members who have already provided feedback in respect to their need for office accommodation, however if you would like to contribute and potentially take part in the arbitration as a witness in July this year, please contact ASMOF at