The 2018 SACS Council endorses our claims for A Civil Society

We believe in a Civil Society.

We believe that achieving a Civil Society is only possible if the work of ASU members is properly valued and respected by both employers and Government.

In 2018, over 300 workplace union meetings and 20 regional town hall meetings were held for ASU members to come together, share their ideas, and decide on what it would take for our sector to be properly valued and respected.

These proposals were then debated and endorsed at our 2018 Social and Community Services Council meeting, made up of over 70 delegates from across the sector.

This is our platform for building and supporting a truly Civil Society.

Part A: Our Industry Standards must set a fair minimum for all workers in our sector, through improving our wages and conditions. They must:

1. Ensure classifications reflect and value the work that we do and promote careers in the sector by including:

a. advanced practitioner roles and pathways into the highest levels;
b. additional increments that are accessed by automatic progression at the commencement of each year of service;
c. recognition of attainment of relevant industry qualifications;
d. recognition of relevant industry experience.

2. Promote secure work arrangements by:

a. ending the misuse of fixed-term contracts to avoid obligations of secure employment;
b. ending the misuse of casual employment, short-hour part time employment as a way of avoiding the obligations of secure employment;
c. ending the use of any other practices that seek to undermine secure employment.

3. Ensure that work is arranged in ways that protect the interests of both clients and workers by:

a. replacing current 24 hour and broken shift provisions with a new category of flexi-permanent work arrangements that provide workers with secure employment, reasonable working hours and a premium rate for flexibility above agreed core pattern of hours;
b. recognising sleepovers as time at work and pay them accordingly;

4. Resolve disputes by referring these to the industrial umpire for arbitration.

5. Use redundancy as a last resort, and access to severance pay regardless of size of organisation if made redundant.

6. Recognise the skills of workers who use community languages in their work by the creation of a new community languages allowance.

Part B: All Governments must support our sector and value our work through proper, transparent funding and an end to competitive tendering. They must:

1. Not allow corporations to profit from providing services to the community using government funds.

2. End competitive tendering practices because they are divisive and destructive. Instead commissioning of human services should be done in a way that:

a. sets an appropriate price floor that provides for adequate service levels and fair and decent pay and conditions for staff in all funding processes;
b. provides transparent funding formulas;
c. ends commercial-in-confidence arrangements for the funding of community services;
d. actively contributes to reducing the gender pay gap in Australia;
e. takes an active role in ensuring staffing levels are appropriate in all services they contract;
f. values the advocacy role that services play and explicitly prohibiting gag clauses.

3. Fund the sector properly by:

a. working with us to ensure that areas of increasing or unmet demand for services are addressed and that there is no reduction in services;
b. continuously increase funding to the sector so organisations can meet their increasing costs;
c. providing minimum funding cycles of 10 years;
d. enforcing minimum award pay and conditions in the awarding of any funding contracts.

4. Support the retention and growth of the community and disability sector workforce by:

a. providing portability of long service leave for all workers in the social, community and disability services industry;
b. providing other portable entitlements including sick leave, annual leave and redundancy protections for all workers on insecure work arrangements in the industry;
c. providing funding for workers to attain and retain relevant qualifications and RPL (recognition of prior learning) for work in the industry;
d. ensuring that all workers in community and disability sector are deemed to be covered by the SCHADS Award so everyone has the same minimum safety net of conditions (including contractors and sole traders);
e. ensuring that if a re-tendering process results in workers being displaced, that successful providers are required to support affected workers via priority employment arrangements and transfer of entitlements and ensure severance payments are fully funded.

Part C: Employers must support the rights of workers to organise, to work in safety and with respect. They must:

1. Actively support the workforce and stand beside us in our campaign for A Civil Society.

2. Be transparent about wages and classifications of all positions.

3. Work with the union to provide secure, permanent employment.

4. Facilitate respectful workplaces that support the workforce and are free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.

5. Recognise the rights of workers to organise through union.

6. Ensure workplaces are safe and work with union members to address all safety concerns.

7. Identify cultural needs of the workforce and provide appropriate recognition and support.

8. Value, listen and respond to the input and concerns of the workforce by involving union members in discussions and decision making about all issues that affect their work before a decision has been made to implement changes.

9. Address workplace issues and disputes in an agreed timeframe and in a transparent way.

10. Provide all workers with a minimum of 10 days paid family violence leave.

11. Recognise and accommodate diverse family and caring responsibilities of employees.

12. Commit to employing an appropriate diverse workforce for the community supported by the organisation, and provide appropriate workplace supports to those workers with diverse needs.

Note: A number of additional comments have been referred to the SACS Committee of Management for further consideration.

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