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Shorty shift switch

Wednesday, 26th March, 2014

By Erica Visser

City Council will soon outsource shifts at its Shorty O’Neil Village at the expense of current employees, according to the union.

The village has lost residents rapidly since Council decided to close it by March 2016.

Staff at the aged care facility have received Council’s award rates since 2010, which are significantly higher when compared with other aged care workers.

The Town Employees Union (TEU) said yesterday that Council planned to outsource the night shift, which is covered by the village’s Personal Care Assistants (PCAs).

In a bid to stop the move, the union had put forward an alternative staff roster which would save $20,000 a fortnight but Council rejected it.

“Day shift rounds have been revised and the employees have cooperated by proposing a reduced day shift roster which could’ve been implemented with the appropriate notice,” TEU Secretary Rosslyn Ferry said.

“Not satisfied with this, Council insisted that the night shift was too costly and has obtained quotes from four organisations to outsource this shift as a single sleepover.”

Ms Ferry said the drastic move was part of an aim to reduce PCAs to 50 per cent of the original staff by the end of this financial year.

She said that both the union and staff were “vehemently opposed” to the outsourcing plan and urged councillors to get involved.

“We believe that our proposal is the best option for, not only the employees, but particularly the residents as there would be continuity with the care services by the remaining care staff they are familiar with,” Ms Ferry said.  

“What we don’t want is for residents to be further disrupted and upset by having unfamiliar people responding to their calls for assistance during the night shift.

“Our roster proposal ... has not even been put to the councillors for consideration.

“We are currently at an impasse but I believe we can resolve the roster and duties issues if the councillors will just sit down and consult properly with the employees and the union.”

MS Ferry said that the PCAs had most contact with the residents and were “like family” to those living at the village. 

The union and Council have been involved in a dispute since December last year.

Both parties will report back to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on April 7.

Council will discuss its recently revealed exit strategy for the village at a public meeting at the Council Chambers in Blende Street at 6.30pm tonight.

Council was contacted for a response.

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