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CPSU, HACSU back Extended Care Assistants

THE CPSU and HACSU stood firm for extended care assistants at the Tasmanian Industrial Commission on Tuesday. The CPSU intervened in support of HACSU in relation to Extended Care Assistants (ECAs) who were working at Peacock 2 at the Repatriation Hospital in Hobart. Peacock 2 has closed, with an Older Person’s Unit (OPU) recently opening at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

The DHHS is advocating for a number of ECAs to be reclassified as Assistants in Nursing (AINs) in the OPU, for a six month trial, but there is no current agreement to cover ECAs if they become AINs.

CPSU Member Advice and Support Team Organiser Steph Katsin told the hearing the CPSU’s chief concern was the process was not in the best interests of current or future State Service employees.

“We assert that in supporting the action being taken by DHHS to replace Extended Care Assistants with Assistants in Nursing, the State Government of Tasmania is essentially advocating the employment of individuals in arrangements not covered by any existing award or agreement,” Steph said.

“If this arrangement is permitted to continue, then a most malignant precedent will have been set for existing and future employees of the Tasmanian State Service.”

If the model in the OPU is successful these ECAs will have to compete against other applicants for a position and if it’s not successful these ECAs could be made redundant. As HACSU’s Tim Jacobson said, these workers either had the choice of “being executed today or possibly executed in six months’ time”.

HACSU Legal Officer James Eddington pointed out that reclassifying these workers was unnecessary, as they had already completed the relevant training course and were capable of undertaking AIN duties. The decision on this dispute will be made by the Tasmanian Industrial Commission soon.

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