No redundancy for disability workers

THE state government does not intend to offer redundancy payments to disability sector workers who decline to move to the private sector under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

By Ian Kirkwood in the Newcastle Herald, 3 March 2014.

[NSWNMA public forum on disability privatisation at Newcastle Panthers, Tuesday, March 11, at 6pm.

Read more reports on the privatisation of disability services in NSW.]

Legislation denying public servants the traditional redundancy payments offered during privatisations have stunned the union movement.

But the state government has defended the new laws, saying “the NDIS Enabling Act makes it possible for us to . . . plan for all aspects of transition to the NDIS over the next few years”.

In a series of questions and answers posted on the Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) website, the government acknowledges passing legislation “that enables it to forcibly transfer ADHC employees to the not-for-profit/for profit sectors, without compensation”.

Asked if anything similar had happened before, the government responded by saying there needed to be “continuity of support for ADHC clients . . . to ensure an experienced, skilled workforce is retained in the service system”.

Public Service Association organiser Paul James said government promises to maintain the conditions of transferring workers were likely to prove hollow.

“While the government says conditions cannot be varied ‘except in accordance with any applicable industrial law’, the private disability services are already pushing to have the relevant laws changed,” Mr James said.

The changes would affect more than 1000 staff at the Stockton Centre and another 13,000 or so people in other ADHC jobs set to go by 2018.

NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association Stockton delegate Michael Grant said Stockton Centre employees were “extremely angry”.

It was morally wrong for the government not to offer redundancy payments to those who did not want to transfer to the NDIS, especially if their existing jobs were no longer needed and they were being forced to retrain, he said.

The government was even denying that the ADHC changes were a privatisation.

“They’re saying a privatisation is where they sell a business to the private sector but because they are giving it away, it’s not a privatisation. That is a ridiculous statement.”

Redundancy would be one of the issues pushed by the unions at a consultative forum with the government in Sydney on Thursday.

Mr Grant said the nurses’ association was holding a public forum on the NDIS at Newcastle Panthers on Tuesday, March 11, at 6pm.

Mr James said this would be preceded by a members-only PSA meeting at the same venue at 4.30pm.

By Ian Kirkwood in the Newcastle Herald, 3 March 2014.

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