In a decisive display of solidarity, HammondCare employees have rejected the proposed Enterprise Agreement, marking a significant victory for workers’ rights. The Health Workers Union (HWU) led a “Vote No” campaign, urging members to stand united against a pay offer as low as 39 cents per hour.
Powerful Collective Voice
The majority of HammondCare members voiced their dissent, rejecting the disrespectful pay offer and demanding fair compensation for their vital contributions to the healthcare sector. The rejection is a testament to the collective power of the workforce, illustrating the determination of employees to secure better terms and conditions.
Key Campaign Points
The “Vote No” campaign spearheaded by the HWU highlighted critical issues within the proposed agreement:
Disrespectful Pay Increase: The proposed wage increase, averaging a mere 47 cents per hour, fell significantly short of expectations.
Allowance Increases: HammondCare’s failure to commit to a minimum 3.5% annual increase in allowances, a vital element considering the Modern Award rate exceeds the Agreement rate.
Medication Allowance Denied: The refusal to acknowledge the importance of a medication allowance, crucial for carers administering or assisting with medication.
No Disciplinary Protection: The absence of a disciplinary procedure in the agreement, leaving employees without proper safeguards during complaints or disciplinary actions.
Rigid Leave Policies: HammondCare’s inflexible personal and carer’s leave policies that fail to adapt to various health-related situations.
Failure to Ensure Fair Pay: The reluctance to include an underpayment penalty, essential for accountability in fair pay.
Unresolved Safety Issues: The absence of an occupational health and safety (OHS) clause, leaving employees vulnerable to workplace hazards.
Uniform and Laundry Allowances: Exclusion of uniform and laundry allowances, as included in the Aged Care Award.
The rejection of the proposed agreement opens the door for renewed negotiations. The HWU has already reached out to HammondCare to organize a new bargaining meeting, advocating for a more equitable pay offer and improved conditions.
The HWU has been reaching out to HammondCare to request to organise a new bargaining meeting so that negotiations can continue. HammondCare are yet to commit to a meeting.
HammondCare’s latest annual report describes a “strong balance sheet” with a $2 million net increase in assets to $306 million, and 13% and 14% annual growth rates in residential and home care respectively. They state they are “well positioned to continue the trend of growth” into HammondCare’s future. Unfortunately, staff wage rates are not all on an upwards trend. When inflation is at 5.4%, a 1.49% pay increase is really a pay cut.
HammondCare’s “Next Chapter 2025” strategic plan promises their staff, “You will be highly valued”. We are calling on HammondCare CEO Mike Baird to make a better offer that reflects this commitment.
This victory is a celebration of unity among HammondCare workers, a demonstration that when voices join forces, change is possible. The HWU remains committed to championing the rights and well-being of healthcare workers, ensuring their contributions are duly recognised and rewarded.