Privately Speaking Winter 2013
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Transcript of Privately Speaking Winter 2013
Privately SpeakingISSUEA newsletter for NZNO members working in the private health sector
In this issue: Bad Medicine: why were worried
about changes to employment law
Management of change
Collective agreement updates
A focus on our delegate leaders
How the Employment Relations Amendment Bill will affect us and what we can do about it.The Government is planning law changes that undermine fundamental human and employment rights. The changes will give your employer the ability to reduce your pay and conditions. They are bad for the workforce and bad for families. We need to advocate against them and tell the Government we want fair employment laws.
Good employment law would mean that when employment agreements are negotiated between a significant group of employers and employees, the conditions could be extended to cover similar workplaces. NZNO organisers and professional nursing advisers would be allowed to come and see you at work. Its only fair that people doing the same work have the benefit of the same pay and conditions.
It would mean that employers could no longer fire you for no reason, and with no right of appeal, in your first 90 days of a new job and if you were going to be dismissed from your role, it could only be for reasonable and fair reasons.
Theres more information about what the law changes will mean for the health team over the page.
We need a law that strengthens collective bargaining
What can I do?Like us on Facebook: NZNursesOrganisation
Check out our webpage: www.nzno.org.nz/badmedicine
Make a submission: www.nzno.org.nz/badmedicine
No access to your personal employment information If your job is under threat, your employer will be able to withhold information from you under some circumstances. This may remove your ability to effectively defend yourself in a disciplinary investigation or to challenge your employers decision to make you redundant.
Workers in larger workplacesOutgoing employers will be required to provide the incoming employer with all your personal information such as wage and holiday records and HR files, including performance, disciplinary and grievance information.
Star delegate Pauline Moore from Grace Hospital
I have worked in a variety of fields including banking, travel, health, entertainment, research and art. I have a BA Hons1 degree from the University of Sydney and a Certificate of Small Business Management from Te Wananga Aotearoa. I am a administration employee.
I was asked to become a delegate by a co-worker and although I was initially reluctant she insisted!
I enjoy this role as I get to support staff through difficult times and to resolve these difficulties by negotiating with management. I am also on the Collective Agreement negotiating committee and have done this for the past three rounds of negotiations. I think that delegates provide an invaluable service to not only staff members but also management.
Bad medicine: what the changes meanEmployers will be able to opt out of MECA bargainingEmployers will be able to withdraw from bargaining for multi-employer collective agreements (MECAs). This could dismantle MECAs that have brought steady improvements and national pay and conditions for the vast majority of NZNO members.
Employers will be able to walk away from bargainingYour employer will be able to apply to the Employment Relations Authority to declare bargaining is over. That means:
Employers will have the power to pressure you to sign an Individual Employment Agreement;
Industrial action will become illegal once bargaining is declared over;
NZNO will have to wait to re-initiate bargaining for 60 days.
New staff can be employed on less pay and worse conditionsCurrently, new employees are covered by the collective agreement in their workplace for the first 30 days. This protection will be stripped away so new employees can be paid less and are open to instant dismissal. Over time this will reduce everyones terms and conditions.
Job protection will be stripped away
In workplaces with fewer than 20 employees; jobs and conditions will not be protected when contracts for services are transferred to a new employer.
It will be more difficult to take industrial action
The changes will make it very difficult to take industrial action in support of improved terms and conditions even if there is a threat to your health and safety. Your employer will be able to deduct a portion of your pay for a partial strike.
Meal and rest breaks
Your employer will be able to restrict the times and durations for tea and meal breaks and decide how long you must work before you get a break.
Management of ChangeWe are seeing change occurring in Private Hospitals and Hospices.
It is very important NZNO is contacted by members as soon as any change is mooted - whether this is change in how health services may be delivered, restructuring of roles, change to your hours of work/conditions of employment and/or your workplace being sold/merged/closed.
The best way to meaningfully influence change is to get our views in as early as possible.
There are statutory obligations in relation to consultation and management of change.
There is an express obligation under the expanded definition of good faith in the 2004 amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the Act). An employer who is proposing to make a decision that will, or is likely to, have an effect on an employees employment must provide that employee with access to information about any such decision prior to any decision being made. The employee if a member of NZNO, has the right to consult us on any employment matter.
The Act provides that an employee or their union representative has the right to consultation with the employer on any proposal before a decision is made.
If you are covered by a Collective Agreement there may be expanded provisions in your agreement over and above the Act in relation to consultation and change etc. Make sure you are familiar with the terms and conditions contained in your collective agreement and know the procedures/steps to be followed to ensure a fair consultative process.
You have the right to know in advance if your employer intends to sell, transfer the business on etc, and the impact it may have on you i.e. what happens to your job, will your position be made redundant, will you retain the same terms and conditions?
Whether you are covered by a collective agreement or not you have the right to seek advice from NZNO about any proposed changes in your worksite or on any employment agreement you have been asked to sign before signing, and to have adequate time to do this.
Healthy Workplace ProjectOur Healthy Workplace Projects in the Primary Health Care (PHC), Private Hospital and Hospice Sectors are being implemented.
The goal of the Project is to implement joint NZNO/Employer Healthy Workplace Forums in as many workplaces as possible and for members to be fully involved and take ownership of the Project.
The first stage of the Project is to raise members awareness of the seven elements that constitute a health workplace.
The second stage will be to assess worksites against the seven elements and work with members on a plan to overcome any issues that may be identified.
There is a range of resources to support the project including a poster and a Private Hospital and Hospice Sector Healthy Workplace pamphlet detailing the seven elements.
Joint NZNO/Employer Healthy Workplace Groups are already implemented in some Private Hospitals, Plunket, Healthcare NZ and Prison Health Services and have provided a useful vehicle to achieve good discussion/positive outcomes at both a local and national level.
Please contact your NZNO delegate or local NZNO organiser for more information.
Bowen Hospital Collective AgreementNZNO has renegotiated the Bowen Hospital Wellington Collective Agreement (CA). Bowen is owned by Acurity Health Group Ltd. The new CA is for 3 years and expires 31 March 2016. The employer has matched the same pay increase in the DHB MECA but has divided the percentage increases evenly over the 3 years. Members covered by the CA received a 1.5% pay increase back dated to 1 April 2013. The next pay increase will be 1.5% on 1 April 2014 and a further 1.5% increase on 1 April 2015. These pay increases still maintain the differential above the DHB MECA. Members at Bowen will also now receive three study days per year and a working party has been established to develop study leave criteria. NZNO clauses and access to the workplace have been improved which supports the positive working relationship between NZNO and Bowen Management. The principles to achieving a healthy workplace are to be incorporated into the Safe Staffing, Rostering and Allocation of Staff Policy at Bowen. A special acknowledgement to Catherine Sinclair and Kelly Kennedy, the Bowen delegates, for going the extra mile on behalf of the members at Bowen.
Wakefield Hospital Collective AgreementWakefield Hospital in Wellington is also owned by Acurity Health Group Ltd. A working party was established from the Collective Agreement (CA) negotiations in October 2012 to investigate the possibility of Clinical Charge Nurses (CCNs) being covered by the CA. Wakefield and NZNO have now agreed the CCNs will be covered. NZNO is very pleased with this positive outcome and special thanks to Lee White and Anna Smith who represented the CCNs on the working party. The new CCN pay scale has been incorporated by way of a Variation to the CA.
Manuka Street Trust Hospital Nelson A working party comprising the Manuka Street Trust Hospital management team, NZNO orga