New offer, New Framework – Have your say

Posted April 15, 2014

It's finally arrived. A new draft of the SMO and VMO contract, all in one document, drafted in conjunction with the Keep our Doctors Taskforce.


Our action and standing together as a united group has meant that the Government finally sat back down with the SMO and VMO Taskforce and now there is a new contract for us to consider.

We went into to emergency negotiations on Thursday last week armed with your survey responses, questions and positions demanding a better contract and improvements to the legislative framework. Negotiations ran late into the evening on Thursday and Friday of last week with drafting of documents occurring over this last weekend. I missed the last bit of Friday as I headed home to Cairns before Ita hit, but the team of SMOs, VMOs, industrial officers and lawyers continued on.

Together can now share details of a revised offer from government to settle the contracts dispute, and advise a suspension of all campaign and industrial action (including resigning en masse) while the offer is being considered.

We want to hear what you think of this new contract. You have a choice to make – are you happy to accept this contract, or do you wish to reject this offer and continue the campaign?

The deadline for signing contracts has been moved to 31 May, which means there is also no longer a deadline of 30 April for anyone to resign from the Department in order to avoid having to sign a contract. This offer from Government and your individual contract terms can now be carefully considered with advice. It's not as long an extension of time as we were hoping for, but it is significant.

Features of the new offer:

* Addendum amendments to be included into the contract – it is now just one whole contract document,
* D-G of Health cannot unilaterally override or change your contract of employment,
* Robust and binding dispute resolution process,
* Robust and binding unfair dismissal process,
* Removal of words profitability, viability and reputation from the termination clause,
* Individual choice of 3 or 6 month notice period for resignation,
* You can negotiate with your  HHS to include current clinical support time as contractual right,
* Translated option A benefits carry with you to a different HHS if you move,
* Senior Doctors can decline transfer on reasonable grounds,
* Senior Doctors can decline a shift roster on reasonable grounds,
* You can only be directed to take Professional Development Leave to address or improve performance issues (otherwise it can be taken at a time of your choosing in consultation with your manager),
* Intellectual property rights are claimed by QHealth only if they are related to your actual duties for the employer,
* A Contract Advisory Committee (CAC) made up of 4 SMO/VMO representatives (elected by the workforce), 4 employer representatives and an Independent Chair, can make recommendations on contract implementation or improvements to the D-G. Increases to wages and some allowances can be arbitrated by an independent arbitrator,
* Formal collective bargaining has not been provided for.

This offer is a significant step forward and resolves many of the key issues members have raised with your representatives on the Taskforce. However it isn't a return to MOCA3 and it isn't everything doctors wanted fixed, which is why it is so important that each of you consider the detail and decide whether to settle this dispute.

As soon as the full set of material is provided by the Department, we will conduct a formal plebiscite of members to make a decision on accepting this settlement offer.

Together will provide specific advice to members once we have the final version of the contract. Solving problems locally will require cooperation with all of us at a local level and making sure we remain organized and union in our own workplaces.

We have been stronger together in this process to date and we will only be able to keep the government and our managers to the best elements of this or any deal by remaining strong as a union.

In the meantime, well done on your commitment and your action to achieve this offer. You have stood together as a Union of doctors to fight for your patients and your profession and ultimately the health of all Queenslanders.

Congratulations -

Dr Sandy Donald, Together Delegate, Cairns

PS: I won't be at the "pineapple" in person this week, but if you are in town - head along to the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre at 7pm. Details for us outside of Brisbane for webex in will be posted at: