Vinnies dismissals "harsh and unfair"

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission has ordered the Society of St Vincent de Paul to reinstate two dismissed former employees after finding that the Society was harsh, acted unreasonably and failed to follow procedure.

ABC News reports that the Commission has ordered the charity to reinstate Maria McNuff and David Patterson after ruling that their dismissal in April this year was unjust.

The Australian Services Union says that Ms McNuff and Mr Patterson were sacked for collectively negotiating a dispute, and for using a staff meeting to bring complaints against a manager.

The Union's Secretary, Sally McManus, says the workers will have to be reinstated and paid the wages lost since their dismissal.

"The (Commission) made that decision because they said the dismissal was harsh and unfair and unjust," she said.

"And that's a great victory for (the claimants). But it's not just that. It also means that for workers (who) aren't under WorkChoices, there's still justice for them. They can have their case heard.

"These people got sacked virtually for nothing.

"I think St Vincent De Paul really needs to look internally at itself."

Calling for the workers to be reinstated, the Union's lawyer Tony Sleiven said the Society had breached its own grievance procedures.

But according to The Age, St Vincent's lawyer Andrew Joseph said the procedures did not apply to this case and that management had acted "within its prerogative".

Both Mr Patterson and Ms McNuff thanked the Union for running their case.

Mr Patterson said he would have been "up the creek without a paddle" if it had not been for the union.

The St Vincent de Paul Society was preparing a comment on the outcome, a Society spokesman told The Age.

St Vincent de Paul 'harsh and unfair': IRC (ABC News, 25/7/07)
Axed Vinnies workers win dismissal case (Sydney Morning Herald, 26/7/07)

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

Sacked Vinnies workers seek arbitration (CathNews, 27/6/07)
Union welcomes Vinnies' guarantees (CathNews, 22/5/07)
Vinnies refutes "corporatisation" claims (CathNews, 21/5/07)
Vinnies denies "sacking" claims (CathNews, 6/2/07)

26 Jul 2007