PSA WIN FOR MEMBERS IN SA PATHOLOGY
We are many thousand strong, and I am glad to say, we are getting stronger and stronger every day.
Aunt Molly Jackson, I am a Union Woman.
Why would you not join the union when we achieve results like this?
Six months ago when a PSA Organiser met with a group of phlebotomists, they discovered that a significant number of staff working in blood collection centres were working at a higher level than the OPS1 classification they were were being paid at, and had been for some time. Some staff had been classified at OPS1 for decades. Around 100 more staff were identified as being underclassified and 58 submitted a reclassification application, with PSA support. Now that every one of these applications has been successful, others are joining the PSA and submitting their applications.
Stuck at OPS1
Staff working at OPS1 are effectively being paid as trainees – deemed to be at that level because they are working under close supervision and demonstrating only basic knowledge in performing their duties. Phlebotomists commence at OPS1 level, needing support and training, and can usually gain the necessary level of competency to go on a roster covering collection centres within about six months. From this time on they are working by themselves and demonstrating skills that require judgement based on their level of knowledge and skill. At this point, the 58 members should have been reclassified to OPS2, the classification for staff working under general as opposed to close supervision. Staff at this level often work autonomously, make decisions, use initiative, communicate effectively with the public and more.
It speaks volumes that it took a chance discussion and an astute PSA Organiser to ensure 58 hard working staff in a government department were being paid appropriately. In rejecting reclassification applications prior to the PSA intervention, SA Pathology management had consistently ignored the applicable work level definitions and applied other inappropriate criteria for reclassifications. The PSA campaign challenged the SA Pathology approach and brought the process back to the simple understanding that if staff were working effectively in collection centres, and not subject to performance management processes, then they should have been classified at the OPS 2 level.
Power in a union!
Phlebotomists work in blood collection centres in a wide range of locations around the state, often on their own, completely isolated from their colleagues in other sites. This kind of isolation can present significant challenges for unions trying to achieve positive outcomes for their members. To counter this, members were organised to meet together at their colleagues’ workplaces, cafes and other convenient locations in order to discuss the campaign and get the ball rolling. The PSA Organiser subsequently followed through with each individual, meeting one to one and communicating by email to support members with their reclassification applications. The reclassification applications were lodged together as a show of strength and solidarity.
This successful outcome clearly illustrates the value of being a PSA member – workers have more power when we address an issue collectively. Congratulations to all the PSA members involved in this fantastic win.