Union welcomes Vinnies' guarantees

The Australian Services Union has welcomed a commitment by St Vincent de Paul Society not to adopt a corporate structure for the charity that could have led to coverage under WorkChoices laws.

"Workers will welcome this commitment," Branch Secretary Sally McManus said in a statement.

"It is good that Mr Picot has stepped in to correct statements made to workers by the Operations Manager of St Vincent De Paul, which raised the possibility of corporatisation because he questioned whether the Society was covered by the WorkChoices law.

"ASU members have been extremely concerned at these statements," she said.

"The Union is of the clear view that the Society cannot be covered by WorkChoices and therefore cannot offer AWAs because it is not a corporation."

In unfair dismissal proceedings against the Society the ASU spent hours of negotiations before and after the Society decided to terminate the employment of two workers simply because they insisted on their right to approach a workplace problem in a collective, rather than an individual manner, the ASU statement continues.

According to the union, the Society sacked one of these workers despite a recommendation from the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW not to do so.

"The ASU believes that the termination of workers for such reasons is outrageous and we will fight to get their jobs back.

"We would never have seen the Society operate in such an unjust way in the past. We have had years of working together, this new approach is how we see employers operate in the private sector," Ms McManus said.

"They have also given staff new 'common law' contracts which change some of their working conditions and have asked them to sign them without consultation. This is not the St Vincent de Paul we know," Ms McManus concluded.

The ASU statement also noted that it had never said that St Vincent De Paul was using AWAs, as incorrectly reported in Friday's CathNews edition.

Vinnies workers Union welcomes guarantees not to corporatise (ASU Media Release, 21/5/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Services Union (NSW)
WorkChoices (Australian Government)
Workchoices (Wikipedia)

Vinnies refutes "corporatisation" claims (CathNews, 21/5/07)
Vinnies denies "sacking" claims (CathNews, 6/2/07)

22 May 2007