Has Centacare really listened?

Since November 2022, Organisers and Delegates of The Services Union, your union, have been engaging with Centacare about how best to ensure members’ above Award conditions of employment, provided under the Centacare Community and Disability Services Union Collective Agreement 2008 (‘the Agreement’), are maintained.

These discussions were needed because of new laws which sunset pre 2010 Agreements (zombie agreements), including the Agreement covering your employment. This would have the result of your wages and conditions of employment reverting back to the Award. Only approval of an application to extend the Agreement by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) could alter this outcome. There are other options on how to secure above Award conditions which were put forward by our union but Centacare declined to take up any of these.
That is until Friday 10 November 2023, when Centacare wrote to all employees to say that the organisation had listened and that Centacare would make an application to the FWC seeking an extension of the Agreement. This was on the basis that Centacare would commence negotiations for a new Agreement.

By communicating this to staff Centacare identified they are genuinely and financially prepared to extend the Agreement for a period determined by the FWC or until a new Agreement is approved, whichever is to come first.

Our union supports Centacare’s change of heart, however we hold grave concerns about an eleventh hour application to the FWC and the likelihood of success especially if your Union does not support it.

We have advised Centacare that we are prepared to support the application to the FWC provided that Centacare signs up to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with us to protect your above Award wages and conditions, in the event the application is not successful. We see this measure as one that is in your best interests.

If Centacare is indeed genuine about their intentions there should be no issue in signing the MOU as it would simply continue the conditions of your current Agreement. If the application is successful then the MOU would simply cease to exist.

We are awaiting a response from Centacare and given that it is now some eighteen days since their communication to you and no application has been made to the FWC this raises a question about whether Centacare has genuinely listened and really wants to preserve your current conditions. This is a serious question as the cut-off date for extension applications of 7 December is looming.

Union members will be kept up to date as this matter progresses. If you have questions, you are encouraged to reach out to your local Workplace Delegates or our Union.  Not a member of our Union and want to be part of the collective working to secure your conditions then join here https://www.theservicesunion.com.au/tsu/join

Organiser Contact Information:
Darci Wanamaker            
MPH: 0407 172 755        
Email: [email protected]