We'd given Southern Cross Care until 9am Friday July 28 to give us a number of vital commitments and guarantees about the statewide roster changes they were looking to make, otherwise we were hitting send on our urgent request for a hearing at Fair Work - and at 9.02am we got a letter saying, ‘Southern Cross Care will not be proposing nor making any changes to its operational models at this time’.
They said this was ‘acknowledging the emerging risk related to COVID-19’, but, after the many tense meetings, media conferences and discussions with residents' families that we’ve had recently we have a sneaking suspicion it was because of members' action, not just the pandemic that was already raging before this proposal even existed.
So it looks like the changes are dead in the water for now, and this wouldn’t have happened without members standing together and fighting for their rights and those of the residents they help support, and they should be proud of what they've achieved.
But our organisers spent many days at SCC facilities over the last fortnight working beside members so we're also disappointed that the stress, tears and upheaval we've seen many members go through could've been avoided in the first place.
SCC aren’t making these changes ‘at this time’ but that doesn’t mean they won’t try again in the future.
As this process has proved, the best protection workers have is working together, so for anyone who's been thinking of joining the union – now is the time.