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IHC concerned at union action

IHC concerned at union action

An escalation of industrial action over collective agreement negotiations by the Service and Food Workers Union will inevitably impact on the lives of people using IHC services, IHC CEO Ralph Jones said today.

“The action began in spite of the negotiating team agreeing to an impartial investigation of our financial position. We had offered 1.5 percent and the investigation of our financial position carried out by a financial consultant, nominated by the union, showed that this is at the top end of what IHC can afford to pay.”

The union initially demanded an increase totalling 11 percent.

Mr Jones said that the union negotiating team has instigated a series of limited strike actions, including not driving IHC vehicles on Mondays and not completing essential health and safety information. He said this was in breach of IHC’s offer in good faith to agree to an independent review of IHC’s financial position.

“These actions may seem minor, but they will affect the level of service we are able to provide to people with intellectual disabilities and their families. IHC vehicles take people to work, to the doctor and to activities in the community.

“Although union members are exempt from action if they feel it will affect service users unduly, we are concerned that day-to-day activities are at risk. Obviously some of the people using our services are very vulnerable and we are concerned about their safety.

“IHC’s employee payments and conditions invariably lead the sector, and we provide our staff with additional benefits such as free death and disability insurance cover and additional leave after two years service. We would like to pay more, but in reality we are dependent on government funding.

“As the independent review of our finances demonstrates, we cannot raise the offer without compromising IHC’s financial position. It should also be noted that we made the offer despite having yet received any indication that our funding from Government will increase to meet this cost.” Mr Jones said.

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