MedicalDirector locks out technical support staff in pay dispute
MedicalDirector is promising “minimal disruption” to its support services after it gave notice it was locking out some technical support staff at its Bundaberg offices over an industrial dispute.
Technical support staff at Bundaberg have been at odds with MedicalDirector management for a number of months over new contracts, which they say reveal that the company has been paying them based on the industrial award for clerks rather than technicians, which is what they signed up for.
Staff members, who did not wish to be named, said some staff had not signed new contracts because they were offered under the clerks' award, rather than the professional services award. Many staff have since joined the Together union, which is representing them in the dispute.
Back in January, technical staff said they believed that representatives for MD, formerly known as Health Communication Network (HCN), thought technical support staff only recorded calls from customer sites rather than resolving problems.
“Despite the fact that HCN has not been paying staff correctly for the last several years, they are not making a serious attempt to bargain with staff,” a staff member said. “Staff have signed contracts as technicians in past years and now they want to move the goal posts...”
A MedicalDirector spokesperson said the dispute had been taken to the Fair Work Ombudsman and the company was committed to fair pay.
“We are committed to rewarding our staff fairly and proactively sought the advice from the Fair Work Ombudsman who agrees with our position on the appropriate award,” the spokesperson said.
“A decision was made to issue a notice of intended lockout to some employees in response to their choice of industrial action, rather than engaging with the Ombudsman to have their views heard.
“We are focused on resolving this issue swiftly and have received independent advice from multiple parties including the Fair Work Ombudsman to offer staff new contracts and better remuneration but some employees continue to dispute the matter. MedicalDirector is committed to rewarding staff fairly.”
Technical staff told Pulse+IT they understood that MD would use other staff members, including from the development team, to man the phones while support staff are locked out.
The MD spokesperson said the action “affects only a minority of our customer care team and is limited to one of our two call centres”.
“We have already re-assigned experienced employees from across the business to work in our Sydney and Bundaberg call centres and there will be minimal disruptions to our services.”
Posted in Australian eHealth