Village workers fearful
Tuesday, 2nd April, 2013
By Erica Visser
Staff at Shorty O'Neil Village are preparing for the potential termination of their employment with City Council in six months.
Council confirmed its decision to seek Expressions of Interest (EOIs) to outsource the management of the aged care residence at its monthly meeting on Wednesday night.
The public was not privy to the "confidential" vote, but Mayor Wincen Cuy said that it was a unanimous decision by the nine councillors.
Seven SOV employees attended the meeting and said that they were concerned about job security.
"We heard that they were thinking about outsourcing management about a year ago but then it sort of died down until last week," said Personal Care Assistant Wendy Pearce.
"We're very worried. We're sure we will be worse off under another award."
Council's Acting General Manager, Peter Oldsen, and a Human Resources representative met with the employees to discuss the proposal.
The secretary for the Town Employees Union, which represents most of SOV's 36 employees, also attended the meeting and said it did not alleviate her concerns.
"We are disgusted at all councillors, including the Labor councillors, in ignoring our requests to enter into discussion before a decision was made," said TEU Secretary Rosslyn Ferry.
"We are extremely concerned about the adverse impact this will have on the SOV staff and their families, as well as local suppliers.
"In effect, they've now been given notice that they will no longer be employed by council in approximately six months' time."
Council will seek an expert to prepare the EOIs document for the village at an unknown cost.
Mayor Cuy said last week that the residents would not be affected by the changes and that council hoped to transfer staff conditions and awards to the new provider.
However, Ms Ferry said that was unlikely and that staff would most probably be put under a new contract which would leave them worse off.
Broken Hill's largest private aged care provider, Southern Cross Care, has said that they may put in a bid and that if successful, staff would be moved under the current SCC award.
Mayor Cuy said that council would be financially better off under the proposal but Ms Ferry said that she believed that the village had been poorly managed by council administration in past years.
Council receives more than $2 million for running SOV which includes Federal funding for aged care beds and 85 per cent of each resident's pension.
However, according to council, this was outweighed by wages alone.