TAFE & Adult Provision What happens when employers walk away from industrial standards

As the disability MEA gathers momentum and the number of services signing on increases, some services are looking to have their agreements terminated at the Fair Work Commission (FWC), aiming to replace their current agreement with the SCHADS award.

Doing so would see employees lose hard-won conditions. In particular, annual leave entitlements would be reduced from six weeks to four weeks, personal leave would be reduced from 15 to 10 days and LSL would drop by almost 4 weeks.

This has been a long-standing issue. When an agreement expires, some employers simply choose to apply to the FWC to have the existing agreement terminated, rather than negotiate a new agreement with their employees and their representatives. The main driver for this action is saving money.

During the MEA negotiations, Mambourin Disability Services had been showing interest in becoming a possible signatory. However, when the government failed to provide the transitional funding to support the implementation of this agreement, Mambourin chose to move away from the negotiations and apply to have their current agreement terminated at the FWC.

Throughout September, we have held meetings with Mambourin members and management regarding the benefits of being a party to the MEA. We will continue to have these conversations, with the aim of achieving the best outcome for our members.

Given that the MEA is a positive move towards improving industry standards across the sector, those providers not offering these conditions could soon find it difficult to attract and retain staff.

When employers do choose to terminate an agreement, we will contest the termination at the FWC and work towards achieving industry standards for our members – even if it means negotiating individual agreements.

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