The feuding at the Health Services Union looks like reaching its conclusion following the laying of charges against and twenty-eight day suspension of its troubled President, Pauline Fegan.
Consultants have recently been ordered in to investigate staff claims of bullying and harassment against the senior official who occasionally dabbles in Chinese giftware importing.
Union insiders tell VEXNEWS these incidents included threatening visits to staff member’s homes and even locking one union employee in a cupboard. “This is obviously a potential Workcover nightmare” an informed source explained.
The rampage of bullying occurred after Fegan had been disappointed in her ambition to become union national secretary, a union insider revealed.
A deal had been done recently to quietly manage the crisis with a managed retirement plan for Fegan that would respect her previous contribution while minimising the union’s potential legal liability for workplace injuries including compensation for stress-related illness.
Sadly this blew up when Fegan reneged on the arrangement and attempted to assert her dominance at the Branch Committee of Management, where she has many loyal supporters. Indeed other observers say Fegan once enjoyed a lot of support at union workplaces.
Observers say the union needs to be particularly careful in managing its WorkCover risk because of high claims dating from the notorious Zora Marko era where the then union secretary collected income payments for many years for what she said was the brutal treatment she received at the union.
Union watchers believe it unlikely Fegan will be able to return to the union.