Allied Health Professional Bargaining

Two bargaining meetings have now been held for a new Allied Health Professional Agreement. 

The first meeting established some bargaining principles to ensure time spent in negotiations is productive. Central to this is whether the employer representatives have the authority to bargain or is the Public Sector Industrial Relations Committee (PSIRC) pulling all the strings but refusing to attend the negotiation? Only time will tell. 

A second meeting, held late last week, was the opportunity for all agencies and unions to outline the issues they want to see resolved through bargaining. 

There was strong consensus from unions that a new agreement must deliver pay & leave parity with interstate colleagues to continue to attract and retain employees in an incredible tight labour market.  

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Negotiations for a new Allied Health Professionals Agreement have commenced. Here is the latest news: 

What was agreed? 

1. To review the career structure of AHPs: including flexible entry points and accelerated progression to help with recruitment and retention. 

There is a crisis when it comes to the recruitment and retention of AHPs across the public sector. The lack of parity with interstate colleagues and across the state service is impacting service delivery and must be addressed by this agreement. 

Pleasingly, there was agreement that the existing Professional Upgrade Scheme (PUGS) is more suited to demonstrating professional excellence, and is different to a career structure, which recognises the skills and expertise of employees through flexible entry points and accelerated progression. 

Employer representatives put forward a revised career structure, which included additional increment points for Managers at L4 and L5 to deal with inequities in the current structure whereby managers can be overseeing specialist staff and paid less. The Employer also proposed a broad banded career structure for Psychologists and Rural Health Generalists that would allow progression from L1 right through to L3. 

These are noble aspirations that we support, but why stop there? We should be aiming to eliminate inequities at all levels of the classification structure and across all state service agreements

The CPSU requested a breakdown of the roles at each level of the Allied Health Professionals Agreement across all agencies, and that the Employer provide a report on the pay scales of Allied Health Professionals interstate. 

As, if we are to establish an improved classification structure it must deliver pay parity and end the inequities across the state service. 

2. To re-work the classification standards, align with the format used in the Tasmanian State Service Award, Health and Human Service Award and Nursing Award. 

This work will be undertaken by the employer. A draft will be presented in mid-September for review. This work is long overdue and is required to build a modern career structure that recognises the professional expertise and skill acquisition of AHPs. 

There was agreement to continue discussions about the career structure of AHPs alongside this work to avoid unnecessary delays. 

Where to next? 

Despite an incredibly positive discussion about the inadequacy of the current career structure, the State Service Management Office was unable to provide a commitment in the room to the proposals being sought by agencies and unions. This is a worrying development that suggests the State Service Management Office does not have the authority to bargain. 

Looking forward – the next meeting: 

The next meeting will focus on workloads, staffing and conditions. 

Make sure you support our claim by providing evidence. It is as easy as sharing your story here.

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