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Issue #1440      27 January 2010

Disability workers win three year deal at Activ

Staff at disability support organisation Activ are celebrating after winning their first three year pay and conditions deal. The win means direct care workers at Activ will be paid an extra $27 per week back dated to July 2009 plus they will receive a one percent pay increase for 2009. They will also gain from wage increases of four percent for the next two years and a whole range of other benefits including six weeks paid maternity leave and access to pro-rata long service leave at seven years.

Originally, Activ management wanted staff to work under its GROW initiative which was introduced without consultation and which was supposed to pay staff more based on their performance but which in reality saw yearly increments in wages stopped.

But after management received a petition against GROW with more than 380 signatures on it and the firm’s CEO received masses of text messages, faxes and emails from the union’s 345 members, they realised they had to listen.

Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers’ Union (LHMU) delegate of 19 years, Irene Snow, who works as a social trainer at Activ’s accommodation centre in High Wycombe, Perth, said the campaign picked up members as negotiations went along.

“We went from under 20 percent membership to over 80 percent and this strength in numbers helped the negotiation process,” said Irene who was one of 12 LHMU delegates on the negotiating committee.

“The delegates were all really good talkers and weren’t afraid to speak out about the specific problems in their areas. I was really enthused by them and we got an excellent result.”

Kelly Shay, assistant secretary of the LHMU said, “This was a great campaign. Delegates had the power of representing strong, active members who were willing to fight and as a result we have the union collective agreement members deserve.

“Because we were so strong, management had to listen to what these workers had to say and we’ve emerged with an agreement which is good for everybody.

“A happy workforce means less turnover and less spent on training for management while clients benefit from consistent and contented workers.”

Activ is the largest provider of service to people with disabilities in WA and it runs more than 100 facilities in the state.

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