Negotiations end

AN end to lengthy negotiations over the rights of disability workers has been vindicating for “determined” union members, according to the Health and Community Services Union.

While HACSU accused the State Government of seeking to “cut key conditions and rights as part of the (enterprise) bargaining process”, the State Government issued its own statement saying the new agreement would “lead to improved support for people with disability who are in receipt of services provided by the Victorian Department of Human Services”.

The new agreement, for the state’s 5400 disability service workers, was hard won, according to HACSU.

“We have been sustained by the unity of our members who have been at the forefront of this campaign and undertook protected industrial bans across the state and held political protests outside coalition MPs offices,” HACSU state secretary Lloyd Williams said.

He said the conditions recently secured were “crucial to ensuring people with a disability are supported by qualified and experienced support staff”.

State Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge said the agreement included improvements to staff rostering, shift arrangements and leave management and was “a good result for disability service workers and people in their care”.

The new agreement covers disability workers in group homes, crisis and respite facilities and congregate care facilities across Victoria.

Mr Williams said the four-year deal included: a cumulative pay increase of between 12.5 and 12.9 per cent; improved career structures, improved shift allowances; improved workload provisions and allocations of hours; better pay for part-time staff taking long-service leave; protection and maintenance of current rights and conditions and; agreed productivity matters that simplified systems.

He said all bans and industrial stoppages had been suspended as a result of the settlement.

Meanwhile the State Government has also just released its State Disability Plan 2013-2016, which Ms Wooldridge said continued “the journey towards self-directed and flexible disability services that complement accessible and responsive mainstream services such as health care, education and transport”.

The plan is available at