On August 13 last year, Mambourin disability service informed staff of its intention to apply to the Fair Work Commission to have their existing staff agreement terminated and to move all staff onto the SCHADS award.
Moving to the SCHADS award would mean losing hard-won conditions. Employees’ annual leave would be reduced by two weeks and personal leave by five days. There would also be no obligation for Mambourin to provide professional development to its staff.
Mambourin argued that this change was needed due to its funding source shifting from block to NDIS funding; and that if the current agreement isn’t terminated, it would ‘impact the future viability of Mambourin’.
The AEU contacted Mambourin to request a meeting and to suggest that the service become a signatory to the Disability MEA, along with comparable employers that receive NDIS funding and provide similar services. We also recommended entering into negotiations for a new agreement.
Mambourin was opposed to both of these recommendations and lodged its application with Fair Work to terminate the agreement, which the AEU opposed.
After a two-day hearing at Fair Work in February, it was established that Mambourin, a not-for-profit organisation, had delivered a surplus in the year 2018–2019 and was already well ahead of its targeted budget for 2019–2020.
As part of its evidence, the AEU also submitted a Majority Support Petition (MSP) with 78 signatures from staff expressing their eagerness for their employer to commence negotiations for a new agreement. Mambourin opposed the AEU’s MSP application, resulting in another hearing, which we are currently preparing for.