It’s been a tumultuous week at Hobsons Bay regarding Council’s decision to contract out its in-home care services, leaving staff confused and frustrated.
A summary of what has happened so far is as follows:
- Council met on Tuesday 19th Feb to consider the session ‘in-camera’ (not public)
- Around 60 members of staff and the community attended to express their outrage both at Council considering contracting the services out, and holding the discussion ‘in-camera’
- HBCC CEO and Director Community Care met with affected staff on Wednesday 20th Feb and told them they couldn’t discuss the outcome of the meeting, and didn’t know when they would know the decision (at the same time Maribyrnong home care staff were being told by their CEO that HBCC would know the decision by Monday the following week)
- That same day a special Council Meeting was scheduled for Saturday 23rd Feb and gazetted as being held ‘in-camera’
- On Thursday 21st Feb ASU solicitors Maurice Blackburn wrote to HBCC Mayor Cr Marsden advising him that under the LG Act Council must give 7 days’ notice of a meeting, therefore they were in breach by holding a meeting with less than 3 days’ notice
- On Friday 22nd Feb ASU wrote to HBCC, along with a subsequent letter from Maurice Blackburn, alleging failure to properly consult with staff about the changes, along with several other alleged breaches
- On Saturday 23rd Feb HBCC Councillors held the scheduled meeting, ignoring the advice that it breached the LG Act – the outcome of this is unknown
- The ASU received a letter from HBCC solicitors Maddox rebuking the allegations of breaches of the LG Act and the EBA, and we are currently considering our options on each matter
Council claim: “This will improve employment certainty.”
The CEO and Director Community Care have repeatedly claimed a major driver of this decision is employment certainty. The logic behind this is that Council is better off outsourcing before funding ends in mid-2020.
However every indication is that funding will extend well beyond mid-2020, and with the Royal Commission underway any decision around outsourcing will cause huge uncertainty for clients and staff, and is best delayed.
The ASU will now consider our options in relation to the legitimacy of the Special Council Meeting on Saturday 23rd Feb, and to the Fair Work Commission to enforce staff’s right to genuine consultation.
The ASU understands that the current situation is not ideal for members, and will only take this course of action if there are positive impacts for ASU members.
We expect a meeting to be called by the CEO with affected staff very soon, and the ASU will look to meet with our affected members ASAP to discuss these options and the way forward from here.
For further information please contact:
ASU Organiser Luke Cherry | 0417 472 497 | firstname.lastname@example.org