Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

My Photo
Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except a cat and a collection of Australian parrots, finches, canaries and a dozen hens.

Monday, September 03, 2007

More about my work.

This situation is going to blow up for a lot of people. The Nillumbik Shire Council are in for many angry letters, from clients and their families, as well as carers, some of whom will be either out of a job, or forced to take on a position at a greatly reduced wage. The local paper and probably other media will also be getting outraged letters. Not that this will do any good now, mind you. The damage is done. We (the care givers) have been informed by Southern Cross Care (SCC) that they would like to retain us in their employ, but cannot guarantee the same amount of working hours that we presently have. As I said earlier, we do have a choice - stay with them, move over to the new service provider Aust. Home Care Services (AHCS), or hold positions with both companies, so we can continue to service our existing client base.

AHCS held an information session on Friday. I was surprised to see only 20 or so carers attend - there are nearly 100 of us that are going to be affected, and I am amazed that more of them didn't feel the need to find out more about their prospective new employer. I am aware that some of them had work or other commitments at that time, but still, less than half of the employees is a pretty poor show, and I think the AHCS staff thought so too. It was a very informative session. Those of us present went away feeling shell-shocked. Here are some of the changes we are faced with:

*SCC pays travel allowance of 70c per kl. between clients, and client related exps.
AHCS pay 65c per kl. for c.r. exps. only.

*SCC pay overtime rates for out of hours and weekend work.
AHCS don’t, except for public holidays.

*SCC pay same rate for Personal Care and Home Care jobs.
AHCS pay less for H.C. than P.C.

*SCC employ carers on casual or permanent part time basis depending on carer preference.
AHCS don’t(would prefer not to) – employ carers on casual basis.

*SCC allows flexible working hours.
AHCS provide minimum 10 hours per week.

*SCC pays for compulsory employee Police Check.
AHCS deduct the cost ($29) from the carer’s wage.

*SCC requires all carers to have First Aid training and updates regularly.
AHCS don’t. To quote the manager: “Our carers aren’t medicos. If your client is ill, call an ambulance”…
(so, while waiting for the ambulance, let the client bleed to death/choke to death/die of cardiac arrest or stroke, right?)

All the carers are affected in some way financially. For me, travel allowance is about a quarter of my fortnightly wage; for some of the other girls who travel longer distances, it could amount to hundreds of dollars less in their pay.
Some carers work mostly weekends and nights, in order to make a living as sole parents, university students, etc. because the pay is so much higher. Not if they have to change to the new provider. The difference in out of hours work is almost double the day rate of pay, so their pay would be halved.

SCC want to interview each carer on a one to one basis to discuss their options, and my appointment is on Wednesday. I also want to see AHCS to discuss my options with them, but that won't be for a week or so. I'll keep you posted.


Blogger lindsaylobe said...

Hi Gina

I was not aware of this development and I am shocked and amazed!!
A very poor approach by our Council.

I would be willing to write a letter or assist in any practical way in voicing concern over the issue. Let us know!

Furthermore when tendering for the provision of services there are certain minimum conditions that should be maintained in the Tender documents. Simply paying Carers (already at a low rate) less with fewer allowances to gain advantage over the present Service Provider in my opinion is unethical and poor business practice. Council should have been aware of the terms and conditions of staff to be employed for the provision of these services.

They were comparing tenders, one with apples and the other of lemons.

Good staff is difficult to find and our older generation deserve special care, consideration and continuity. From what you have told me I think there may be a case for you all being worse off under a work place agreement; entirely unacceptable and may breach current provisions. Time for the Council to be brought to account. Collectively to make a united case. Existing conditions should not be downgraded to gain new work under a tender.

Best wishes

Monday, 03 September, 2007  
Blogger Gina E. said...

Thanks Lindsay. I've emailed you direct to accept your offer to write letters to the morons at our council.

Monday, 03 September, 2007  

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