I would firstly like to thank you for your hard work during this COVID-19 pandemic. I am aware of the many challenges facing our members in mental health and am working tirelessly to address those issues. But even while these issues are still present in the workplace, your adversity in facing them has been remarkable, so thank you for that.
You may have also seen that we are close to reaching 10,000 HACSU members. I want to thank you for all your contributions to our mighty union. Thank you for trusting us to fight for your rights in the workplace. Our next aim is to reach 20,000 members by 2028, so if you know anyone who would like to be a part of our union family, please encourage them to get in touch.
It has been a very busy month in the mental health sector. Myself, HACSU Assistant State Secretary Kate Marshall and our team at HACSU have been working tirelessly to bargain for the new Mental Health Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA).
After reaching an impasse in negotiations, we were forced to order a Protected Action Ballot to take industrial action in the workplace. We needed to speed up the process to ensure you get the pay, conditions and security you deserve at work. Our members never shy away from a fight. Our preference is always not to have to use industrial action but we need to prepare all options in case negotiations fail. These ballots were sent out on September 21st by the Australian Electoral Commission, so you would have either received your ballot already or will receive it imminently. We need 100% of the vote to ensure your Mental Health EBA will be agreed upon sooner rather than later. Our staff are already in the process of texting and calling you to see if you have received your ballot, and to answer any questions you may have. Here are some landmark claims we are fighting for:
We launched our Reproductive Health and Wellbeing Leave campaign on September 22nd and it was a great success. We had over 50 participants in attendance on Zoom, raising some important discussion points. We also had three guest speakers in Mary Crooks; CEO of Victorian Women's Trust, Karen Pickering; co-author of About Bloody Time and Tanja Kovac; CEO of Gender Equity Victoria, who all provided valuable knowledge and insight into this topic. I'd like to thank our guest speakers and everyone who attended the launch. I'd especially like to thank Tanja for assisting us in getting this campaign up and running. Her advice has been extremely valuable and will go a long way to ensuring our workers get the leave they deserve.
The state of the mental health workforce is in crisis and we are working to fix this immediately. Some of the key stats from the Royal Commission's interim report into Victoria's mental health system highlight why we are taking these urgent steps to rectify the big issues existing in the sector, with a big one being the lack of beds in many area mental health services.
Following on from these statistics, we have been working closely with Mental Health Reform Victoria on these interim recommendations. Should any member have any questions about any of the above issues, please contact HACSU Assist on 9340 4100 or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A reminder that National Carers Week is coming up this month from 11-17 October. HACSU will be celebrating all of our carers and recognising them for their hard work. Stay tuned for further announcements on this.
October also signifies Mental Health Month, and we are looking forward to recognising and celebrating all of our members who are doing important work in this space. Once again, stay tuned for further announcements on this. We are looking forward to it.
HACSU State Secretary