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News News Carinya ordered to bring illegal lock out to an end

Low paid aged care workers at the Carinya of Bicton and Carinya on Bristol facilities who have been locked out since Monday, will be allowed back into work from 5pm today after a Fair Work Australia commissioner ruled the employer’s action was illegal.

In a move which was unprecedented in the aged care industry in Australia, around 50 LHMU members were told by management at Carinya four days ago that they would not be allowed to work until Monday, February 7.

In a hearing at Fair Work Australia on Thursday afternoon, Commissioner Daniel Cloghan said the lock out was illegal because Carinya had not followed the correct procedures. He ordered that staff will be able to start work again at 5pm today. Carinya of Bicton staff. LHMU members have been trying to negotiate an improved wages and conditions deal with Carinya for the last seven months.

There is now renewed hope that the workers might be able to negotiate a deal with management which will mean their first pay rise in two years.

Dave Kelly, secretary of the LHMU, said the members would be thrilled and relieved to be getting back to work.

“These staff members have lost up to four days of pay. They were already struggling on wages of $18.66 an hour so obviously they will be very relieved that they can go back to earning again.

“But this is not just about money for these workers. They love their jobs and they enjoy working with the residents of Carinya. It has been incredibly hard for them to be away from people they have developed relationships with for the past few days, especially because they know they are being cared for by agency staff who do not know them.

“Carinya have behaved despicably, particularly in the last few days, and they are rightly being punished by Fair Work Australia.

“Their actions meant vulnerable residents were being cared for by agency staff who, through no fault of their own, do not have the same level of understanding and knowledge of the residents.

“I am sure there are many relatives of residents at Carinya who are also relieved the regular staff are being allowed back into work. Many made complaints to the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency WA as well as visiting our members on the picket line outside Carinya this week. Their support has kept spirits up on the picket line and I would like to thank them on behalf of all our members.”

Following the order to end the lock out, management have agreed to re start negotiations and commissioner Cloghan will hear a report back on those negotiations next Wednesday.

This article was first published on the LHMU's WA Branch website.

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