The Baird Government’s proposed transfer package for disability staff is grossly unfair and totally inadequate.
The package was announced last Thursday 19 November by FACS Secretary, Michael Coutts-Trotter, without consultation with the PSA or the endorsement of your union.
Despite being substantially less than previous privatisation arrangements for electricity and ferry workers, Mr Coutts-Trotter described the package as “a good result”, claiming the Government wanted to “retain as many experienced people as possible in the disability sector to support NDIS.”
However, it is the same package that the PSA rejected on behalf of members in Home Care earlier this year.
Accordingly, FACS and the NSW Government will be well aware this package will not be accepted by other PSA members in ADHC.
The Government should be doing everything it can to avoid the workforce crisis looming in the disability sector.
Instead, this package, in its present form, will see the loss of many staff in a highly experienced workforce that is so desperately needed to properly deliver the NDIS.
Further, the Government’s package will heighten the uncertainty and instability created by the completely unnecessary dismantling of ADHC.
The disability sector will undergo massive changes in the next few years, and it’s critical that the expertise and experience of ADHC is not lost in the transition to NDIS.
Yet that’s precisely the scenario the Government is inviting.
The solution is for the NSW Government to treat the ADHC workforce and clients in the same manner as other public service workers in privatisation situations.
Earlier this year, the Government agreed to a 4 year employment guarantee for public sector electricity workers and the protection of their redundancy entitlements following the privatisation of the state’s power networks.
“It’s no coincidence the announcement about the package for disability workers came on the eve of our ‘Real Choice’ rally in Penrith,” said PSA Assistant General Secretary, Steve Turner.
“We hope the Baird Government is willing to improve on its position in the interests of the disability sector and ADHC staff who dedicate much of their lives to caring for people with disability.
“It’s something we know that PSA members are prepared to fight for.”
PSA members have already held successful strike action in Newcastle as well as high profile community actions in Bathurst.
Members are now planning to strike in the Illawarra on 3 December.
The ADHC Departmental Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday 24 November.
PSA Assistant General Secretary Steve Turner will ask the meeting to consider extending the 3 December Illawarra strike to include the whole of ADHC across the state.
The PSA is meeting with the Minister for Disability Services, John Ajaka on 8 December.
A successful state-wide action on 3 December will be a powerful indicator to the Government about the resolve of PSA members in ADHC to fight for a fairer, more equitable outcome for their clients and themselves.