Blue Care: Admin Staff negotiation update

Posted February 23, 2012 by Alex Scott

Blue Care admin members have knocked off some of management’s claims in the recent bargaining negotiations.

Thank you for sending comments to bluecare@together.org,au in relation to your employer’s claims to reduce your employment conditions.  Blue Care / WMB has shifted with some issues in the negotiations that were held on Tuesday 21 February.

Your union, Together, was represented by two of your Delegates, Cecilia Condratoff (Admin Springwood) and Shane Daly (Admin Caloundra) along with Rana Watson (Together Official).  Also in attendance were representatives from both United Voice for the Personal Carers and the AWU for Support Services.

Blue Care admin workers are joining their union every day to ensure that their representatives have a greater ability to be heard and to strongly put the position of Together union members in this bargain.  But more members need to join to make a real difference in this campaign against the loss of your employment conditions.

The issues that were discussed at Tuesday’s meeting are as below:-

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Blue Care Proposal

Ability to roster employees for shifts in a mixed functions capacity for periods of one day or more.

Such employees to be paid at the applicable rate for each full day worked in each classification.

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Together Members' Concerns

You were concerned that this would allow employees to be forced to work at lower grades and be paid as such; and that this condition may be used to punish employees; or it may be used to allow managers to achieve budget targets at the expense of workers.

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Outcome

Your employer has attempted to recast their claim.  It was agreed that access to extra hours is a good thing for workers but that the wording in management’s claim does not state this intention.

A sample clause will be provided to the next meeting for discussion.

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Blue Care Proposal

Update annual leave clause and stipulate:

  • Payment to be ordinary rate plus 17.5% loading
  • Public holidays to be paid only when leave is taken during employment

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Together Members' Concerns

You were concerned that if your employer removes the current provision where shift workers are entitled to be paid either the 17.5% loading or the projected roster (whichever is the greater) that this would be a major disadvantage to workers who are rostered for regular weekend shifts.

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Outcome

After much discussion and a united position from the unions Blue Care agreed to remove this claim.

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Blue Care Proposal

Personal Leave - redraft sick and family leave clauses to clarify entitlement to personal leave (sick leave and carers leave) in accordance with the Fair Work Act

  • requirement to provide evidence of absence due to sick leave for any absence in excess of 2 days in each anniversary year;
  • requirement to provide a medical certificate if absence adjoins regular days off, public holidays or annual leave
  • remove procedure for monitoring sick leave

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Together Members' Concerns

You were concerned that this claim forces members to provide a sick leave certificate or other proof of illness for single day absences after 2 days of sick leave has been taken in a year.  The impact of this claim is that it will encourage workers to attend work despite being sick.  This may cause a contagion to infect not only the workers but also the residents and clients.

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Outcome

Even with the adverse affects of this claim proceeding on both staff and residents and clients Blue Care refused to remove this claim.  At this stage Blue Care has only agreed to provide a draft clause and parameters around how this would work for the next meeting.

The key matters of concern to Together members are below.  Members have provided emails to their union outlining their concerns and the impact these claims will have on them.  Your concerns are around:

  1. 10 hour shifts
  2. 11 shifts per fortnight for part timers
  3. Unpaid shut down
  4. Removal of sick leave payout on termination
  5. Removal of references to reviews in the agreement.
  6. SICK LEAVE provision changes that discourage members from accessing sick leave and allow managers to demand evidence of illness after just 2 days of sick leave per year!

Although we have had some shift in the claims being pursued by your employer as a direct result of your actions, more needs to be done.

Blue Care continue to refuse to guarantee back pay should the agreement go past the 1 July deadline and maintain their position that all classifications review that have been requested be done in the bargaining process.  This means that there is a very real possibility that we may still be bargaining well past the due date for your next pay increase.

Your union has been able to secure more frequent meetings in an effort to complete the bargaining process in a more timely fashion.  As you continue to grow in numbers and activity your representatives will be able to excerpt greater pressure on Blue Care to deliver a fair and reasonable outcome for all.

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What should you do next?

  1. Send this blog to all of your workmates
  2. Ask your workmates to join Together with you.  You have won some changes already; and there is more that can be won if you join and stand Together.  
  3. Send your feedback and comments to your union representatives at bluecare@together.org.au.
  4. Read this blog for regular updates.
 


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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