Secure Employment Win For Radiation Therapists

Tuesday 11 Apr 2017

HSUWA members working in the Cancer Centre at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital have recently had a win in the battle for secure employment.

Melanie Lamplough and Sarah Porter, pictured with their Union Rep and Committee of Management member Brendan McKernan, know the frustration and stress of long term insecure employment. Both members put life plans on hold and described the situation as a type of ‘financial anxiety’. Melanie told the Union she felt like she was ‘disposable’.

The Radiation Therapists discussed the situation with the union and decided to pursue a claim for recognition of permanency. They were worried initially about ‘ruffling feathers’ but ultimately the personal pressures and frustrations tipped them towards pursuing the claim.

Unfortunately their employer put up plenty of roadblocks and delays including claims that problems with the allocation of position identification numbers meant they could not determine the substantive holder of the positions. The Union put the view that the key principle at stake was that on the facts of their case they clearly had a “reasonable expectation of ongoing employment”. It was clear to the Union right from the beginning that they had a good case, despite administrative problems.

After lengthy delays and attempts at negotiations, frustrations boiled over and the Union had no choice but to escalate the matter to North Metro Hospital Executive for attention. A decision was not forthcoming until the Union filed a dispute with the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission. Our members told us they were ready to appear in the Commission and pursue the matter to its end regardless of the outcome. For them the stress of uncertainty was worse than the prospect of a loss.

HSUWA Industrial Officer Karen Heal said: “ The facts strongly supported their case and the fact that Melanie and Sarah, were prepared to stand up when it counted, helped to get their claim over the line”.

A matter of days after filing a dispute, our members had confirmation of permanent employment. Melanie said she ‘hopes it encourages’ others to pursue claims and fight for their rights.

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