Sacked Vinnies workers seek arbitration

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission was yesterday hearing the case of two Society of St Vincent de Paul employees who were dismissed in April allegedly after making a complaint against a manager.

The workers were sacked because they wanted to negotiate collectively, the Australia Services Union (ASU) says in a Sydney Morning Herald report.

The workers, David Patterson and Maria McNuff, were in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on Tuesday for an arbitration hearing with St Vincent de Paul Society that could impact on all workers under state awards, ASU NSW branch secretary Sally McManus said.

"This is really rare to see a good employer behave like this," Ms McManus said.

"It is a really outrageous thing. These workers have a long-term commitment to the poor and needy."

Ms McManus said Mr Patterson and Ms McNuff were dismissed in April after making a complaint against a manager.

"They said they wanted to deal with a workplace problem as a group, not as individuals, and the society turned around and sacked them," she said.

"This is an example of what employers now think they can get away with in the WorkChoices environment."

Mr Patterson had been employed by St Vincent De Paul Society for three years and had been a volunteer for 18 years.

Ms McNuff had been employed for one year.

Ms McManus said the St Vincent de Paul Society had not used the WorkChoices legislation because it was not a business.

"What they've used is the environment WorkChoices creates."

Workers accuse St Vinnies over sacking (Sydney Morning Herald, 27/6/07)

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

Union welcomes Vinnies' guarantees (CathNews, 22/5/07)
Vinnies refutes "corporatisation" claims (CathNews, 21/5/07)
Vinnies denies "sacking" claims (CathNews, 6/2/07)

27 Jun 2007