Health workers given okay to do new deal

IN A victory for common sense, 35 Fraser Coast public health care workers being made redundant on Friday will be able to strike a new agreement with a private sector employer.

A provision in the Federal Fair Work Act, aimed at helping employees keep the conditions and wages they had as public servants, had been a barrier to the sacked Home and Community Care workers finding places in the private sector after their jobs were outsourced by the State Government.

But a spokesman for Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten told the Chronicle the provision would not impede employees from working out a new enterprise agreement with a private employer.

"The Fair Work Act does not prevent these workers negotiating new terms and conditions with their employer that meet the needs of all parties," the spokesman said.

"The Fair Work Commission has power under the transfer of business reforms to make a range of orders to ensure the transfer of business rules operate effectively."

The announcement came after Ozcare's state manager of community care, Damian Foley, said it would not be desirable for his organisation to have staff working under two different contracts.

Mr Foley said the focus for Ozcare was on providing a "seamless" transition of care as the organisation takes over the State Government contract tomorrow.

Ozcare would soon be advertising positions, Mr Foley said.

Fair Work Commission

  • The Fair Work Commission can make a range of orders that will allow it to vary the transferring terms and conditions so they are better aligned to the working arrangements of the new employer's enterprise
  • It can also change the coverage and application of transferring terms and conditions if that is required
  • Employers and transferring employees can also bargain for new enterprise agreements