Underpayment Issue at Mercy Progresses

In late 2022, you should have received two letters, one from Mercy Community Services (Mercy) and another from The Services Union (our Union). The letters outlined a complication with Mercy’s Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (the Agreement) and explained that workers will soon transition to the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Award (the Award).

While this issue is very complex, Mercy is following the correct processes and working collaboratively with our Union to resolve the matter.

This week, our Union met with Mercy to raise members’ concerns with the process, get an update on the issue, and outline next steps for both Mercy and our Union.

Delays and back pay timeframes
Mercy acknowledged and sympathised with workers’ frustration on the delays and provided some information to help explain why the delays are happening. Due to the extraordinary and complex nature of the issue, Mercy has advised that in their efforts to correct the matter, new complexities of the issue have come up which caused further delays in the initial timeline. With that said, Mercy was very clear in that they do not want to disadvantage workers any further. Therefore, Mercy has advised they intend to go beyond their obligations as an employer to limit the negative impacts of the delays which means instead of paying up to six years of back pay, they have committed to calculating six years plus one to cover the time lost due to delays. Our Union welcomes this commitment and believes it is a fair outcome to those affected.

What happens next?
Mercy have completed a lot of the groundwork necessary to progress the issue but there are still some final things to address before moving to the consultation period. Mercy expressed that while it has taken more time than expected to ensure this issue is fixed, they believe they should take the necessary time at this early stage to do things properly to avoid further complications down the line.

While Mercy does that, our Union is reviewing both the Agreement and Award to understand if there are any provisions and entitlements under the Agreement which are better than the Award. Once this is completed, we will meet with Mercy to discuss how we can protect these entitlements beyond the transition to the Award. Members will be kept up to date on this matter as it is progressed.

Once that’s done, the consultation period will commence. Workers will have an opportunity to ask questions, identify concerns, and seek support from our Union during that time.

Things you can do to assist with this issue
Share this newsletter with your workmates and encourage others to join our Union! We need members’ voices at the centre of this issue to guide it forward.

To ensure members are leading our Union, we need YOU to step up as a Workplace Delegate. Delegates are a vital part of any union structure. As a Delegate, you’d have ongoing training and support as well as access to our Delegate Hotline (a key resource for questions and advice). If you’re interested in learning more about the Delegate role, please contact our Union!

If you have questions moving forward, our Union is here to help find answers. Please contact your Union Organiser or our Union’s office at the details below.

Darci W Union Organiser                                                          
0407 172 755
[email protected]                                                                                                       
The Services Union Office
07 3844 5300
[email protected]

Above: An update for Mercy workers on underpayment issues.