Today, Southern Cross Care told us that they want to divide staff by putting nursing and non-nursing staff on separate agreements for their wages and conditions.
We questioned why they're proposing this, and the only answers we got were comments like “Because we have a new executive” and “Because the aged care industry needs reform”.
So far, they’ve refused to give us answers about what this will mean for members and their wages and conditions.
We pushed SCC on the pay rise that staff are owed in January 2021 – only about 6 weeks away – and firmly asked them to give members a pay rise in good faith as there's no way we'll have a new agreement by then. We pointed out that SCC had delayed negotiations and are now, out of nowhere, putting a totally new proposal to us that will take time to work through properly – so it’s on them to do the right thing by staff and give them a pay rise when they deserve it.
SCC have agreed to get back to us by Friday 4 December on whether they will pass on the January pay rise.
For the last 9 years there's been just one agreement covering all staff and, while some other aged care employers have separate agreements for nurses and non-nursing staff, no employer who's gone to one agreement has ever attempted to reverse this and go back to separate ones.
SCC said they'd send their proposed agreements to us by next Friday ahead of the next negotiation meeting set for Thursday 17 December.
We’ll keep members updated as we find out more.