Disability workers rally against ‘shameful’ plans – Illawarra Mercury

Aug 4, 2014

PSA makes its presence felt at Wollongong rally to defend Disability and Home Care services.

Read the full article HERE.

Father fears loss of ‘benchmark’ home for long-term disabled – Newcastle Herald

Aug 4, 2014

BY IAN KIRKWOOD

GRAHAM Burgess is a determined man.

As the Newcastle Herald recently reported, he walked across the Nullarbor Plain at the start of this year, pulling a 180-kilogram cart behind him.

At 73, he has a list of trekking achievements that would put most people half his age to shame, and it appears he applies the same determination to other aspects of life, especially where his son, Stuart, is concerned.

Stuart, 51, lives in a state government group home at Belmont, which his father described as ‘‘a magnificent set-up, a benchmark for the sort of design that allows someone with a disability to go to and stay forever’’.

But he said the National Disability Insurance Scheme, along with the state government’s decision to ‘‘give away’’ or close its disability assets by 2018, had threatened that expectation.

In general, Mr Burgess feared the NDIS would become a Trojan horse for big multi-national for-profit ‘‘care’’ companies, who he said would undercut the non-profit sector that most people thought of as providing disability care. Right now, he feared that residents of at least some group homes – including his son’s – were being signed up for NDIS packages without proper independent representation.

He said the sort of care his son and others received, including regular visits from a psychiatrist, was threatened by the NDIS because the pricing being built into the system would rule out the use of expensive specialists.

Mr Burgess said a campaign by the Public Service Association to keep the Stockton Centre open and oppose the privatisation of state disability services was ‘‘not simply about jobs’’.

‘‘I have a social conscience and seek the truth behind the lines being put forward by the government on the NDIS,’’ Mr Burgess said.

 ‘‘The PSA’s actions are … about the people for whom they have cared for, in some cases for decades on end. I urge the people of Newcastle to rise up against this tragedy of farce being foisted upon the community.’’

Read the full article HERE.

Wollongong rally to save disability and home care services

Aug 1, 2014

 

More than 100 people rallied in Wollongong today as part of the fight to save disability and home care services

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Political use of tragic death a disgrace

Aug 1, 2014

MEDIA RELEASE

PSA Media Release: Political use of tragic death a disgrace (PDF version)

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser should be rebuked for his reported remarks blaming the death of a worker from the Office of Environment and Heritage on environmental legislation, said the Public Service Association of NSW (PSA).

“The death of an employee of the Office of Environment and Heritage who was simply doing his job was a tragedy,” said Acting PSA General Secretary, Steve Turner, in reference to the shooting this week of Glen Turner, 51, near Moree.

“The clear politicisation of that horror is an absolute disgrace.

“Blaming a man’s death on environmental legislation that is designed to benefit the entire community for generations to come is simply breathtaking.

“The Premier should immediately rebuke Coffs Harbour MP, Andrew Fraser, for his reported remarks.

“Every worker should be able to go to work and expect to see their family at the end of the day.

“No-one’s death should be used as a political pawn,” Mr Turner said.

PSA News – 1 August 2014

Aug 1, 2014

Recreation leave reduction not open license for managers

A recent circular issued by the Treasury directs public sector agencies (including related entities and State Owned Corporations) to make all “reasonable attempts” to reduce the recreation leave balances of employees to 30 days or fewer by 30 June 2015.

This is not, however, an open invitation for managers to direct staff to take leave whenever they see fit.

Awards and agreements negotiated by the PSA set out the circumstances in which employees can be directed to take leave.

For members covered by the Crown Employees (Public Sector Conditions of Employment) Reviewed Award 2009, such a direction can only be given when the balance exceeds 30 days.

In this case, the leave should be taken within three months of the employee receiving written notification, or within six weeks if the balance exceeds 40 days.

The Award states that whenever possible, the staff member’s wishes should be accommodated as to when leave is taken.

The PSA can assist members in making sure this intention is respected when measures are put into practice by agencies and employers.

In a climate of ongoing job cuts, a major reason for high leave accrual across the sector is of course that large workloads prevent staff from taking time off.

The general sense of insecurity that hovers over the public sector can also make absences more stressful than restful.

If you feel that you are being treated unfairly because of your agency’s approach to reducing leave balances or approving leave, or if you have any questions regarding your entitlements, please speak with your union delegate or contact the PSA Member Support Centre (1300 772 679).

It’s worth noting that the Crown Employees Award and other awards and agreements negotiated by the PSA allow members to purchase additional annual leave by reducing their salary by a proportionate amount.

These arrangements may assist members looking to plan for longer periods of leave.

Worse than WorkChoices in Tasmania

Tasmanian Premier Hodgman, Treasurer Gutwein and their cabinet colleagues have shamefully abused their legislative powers to override state service agreements and awards.

The Community & Public Sector Union (SPSF Group) Tasmania Branch were not briefed in any meaningful way by Government, but understands that Cabinet:

  • will reduce all headline salary increases to 0% for a period of 12 months from the enactment of legislation. These increases were to be 2% for most employees or $1,000 for those on the lowest classifications
  • has further determined it will freeze any incremental progression and performance-based increments

In addition, the Government:

  • will stop workers from meaningfully bargaining for wages after the one year pay and increment freeze. This appears to apply in perpetuity.
  • will introduce two separate Bills to achieve its objectives. One creates a new statute to over-ride the current negotiated and agreed salary increases & increments and the other amends the Industrial Relations Act 1984 to render bargaining on wages meaningless.
  • aims to have the Bills through both houses of Parliament by October.

Workers first heard of this decision about their future from the media.

The Tasmanian Industrial Commission will be limited to only making wage decisions that conform to Government policy.

Sound familiar?

There is no guarantee or commitment from Government that these vicious measures will save even one job.

What’s clear is these measures will make savings independent of the job losses the government has already flagged.

So, in essence, they will attack agreed wages and conditions AND further compromise already stretched services to the community by targeting 1,500 FTE positions.

The Community & Public Sector Union (SPSF Group) Tasmania Branch are exploring all legal options to challenge the legislation and will lobby the Legislative Council to vote down the Bills.

The union is holding a rally on Budget Day, 28 August.

Post a message of support on https://www.facebook.com/cpsutas?fref=nf

Hands off public health

Truth behind the GP Fee & user-pays model

The Save Medicare Committee are hosting a public forum to discuss the fight for universal public health.

Speakers are:

Coral Levett, President of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association

Ben Spies-Butcher (Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Macquarie University)

Jason Williams (Construction worker from the US on the American health system)

The forum will be held:

Wednesday 6 August
6.00 for 6.30pm
Trades Hall Auditorium
4 Goulburn Street, Sydney

Hands off public health!

Jul 31, 2014

Truth behind the GP Fee & user-pays model

The Save Medicare Committee are hosting a public forum on Wednesday 6 August to discuss the fight for universal public health.

Speakers are:

  • Coral Levett, President of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association
  • Ben Spies-Butcher (Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Macquarie University)
  • Jason Williams (Construction worker from the US on the American health system)

 

The forum will be held on Wednesday 6 August

6.00 for 6.30pm

Trades Hall Auditorium

4 Goulburn Street, Sydney

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