Care group rejects union claims on pay

Talitha WolfeAlbany Advertiser

Albany disability service provider Community Living Association has disputed claims made by a peak union body that more than half of its full-time employees have been underpaid.

The Australian Services Union WA claims about 160 full-time employees were underpaid by the non-for-profit organisation in recent months.

ASU principal campaign officer Pat Branson said some workers were not paid for public holidays, paid below award rates, and full-time employees were offered as little as eight hours a week paid work.

Ms Branson said some carers who have worked 24-hour shifts to provide in-home support for people with severe disabilities were being paid hourly rates less than $11 an hour.

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The WA Industrial Relations Commission was brought into the dispute in September to help negotiations between the ASU and CLA.

CLA provides support for people with disabilities and their families, including co-residency, 24-hour support in or out of home support and other assistance.

CLA chief executive Iain Campbell rejected the union’s claims but could comment little while the matter was still with the WAIRC.

“I dispute the details of what is being presented,” he said. “I understand issues need to be dealt with, and we are dealing with them.”

In an attempt to resolve the dispute, the ASU is to meet CLA in Albany this week after a recommendation by WAIRC chief commissioner Pamela Scott last month. If an agreement cannot be reached, the Albany Advertiser understands further industrial action may be taken by the ASU.

“Our plan is to get wages back for our members who unfairly received less than they are entitled,” Ms Branson said. “We want to do that by some agreement with the employer because it is important for the town and community that the organisation continues to be able to operate.”

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