The dispute between the United Services Union (USU), the principal Union representing employees at Mid-Coast Council (and MidCoast Assist) and the Council has taken a new turn with the USU having gone back to Industrial Relations Commission seeking intervention, as the recent ‘directed’ talks have broken down with Council.

The USU has released a statement saying:

“There has been significant media, including social media coverage, about a dispute regarding the applicable award that covers Mid-Coast Council employees required to undertake ‘sleepover shifts’ to care for residents overnight at Mid-Coast Assist. 

The dispute was never about the exceptional work and commitment that our members provide for this valuable community service. Our members go above and beyond every day to provide such a service. 

The dispute centres on whether the employees should be employed under the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 (SCHADS Award) or an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) as required under the Disability Support Worker Cost Model provided by the National Disability Insurance Agency. 

Currently employees are employed under the Local Government (State) Award 2021 and this Award does not provide for sleepover shifts.

At a directions Hearing on 6 September, the Commission set down a timetable which will lead to a Hearing towards the end of this year or early in 2022.

“It was open for the Council to fix this issue but they have chosen not to,” said USU Northern Industrial Officer Noel Martin. 

“It is disappointing that Council has chosen to go down this path.

“The USU is always open to resolve matters at a local level and in conciliation before the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) however we are seeking a directions hearing for the matter to be determined by the IRC,” Mr Martin said.

Certain people, through the scourge of social media, have chosen to paint this subject as an attack on the integrity of the MidCoast Assist staff.  This was never the case. After an independent review it shows that MidCoast Assist employees are highly respected within the industry, and the services provided by the organisation, MidCoast Assist, have a very solid reputation.

The Manning Community News would be delighted to speak to any current and or former employees of MidCoast Assist, or receive information from or regarding any current or former clients.

It appears that Council will be up for legal costs and potentially the payment of claims or changes to the Award, which may result in being backdated, which may then cover former employees.

Either way it’s going to be another unwanted burden passed onto the incoming council in December.

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