Members at the Murray Bridge Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital have won backpay after being rostered half an hour early for their shift for several years.
United Voice member Kerry said “In 2011 I moved from the Theatre Department to General Services, and I was surprised to be rostered to start at 5:30am. I knew that our Agreement said our regular hours were only between 6am and 6pm.”
“Then when I got my first pay, I saw that I wasn’t paid any penalty rates.
“I asked management, and I was eventually told that staff had previously made an agreement to forego their penalty rates.
“But when I asked the other staff, and they didn’t know anything about it.”
When Kerry became a United Voice Delegate, she contacted the United Voice Members Rights Centre, spoke to affected members and had countless meetings with management.
“I knew it had to be looked into, so I stuck to my guns,” she said.
“I thought, we worked those hours, we should get paid.
“I worked with United Voice, and we went through all my timesheets and spoke to the other members.”
The MRC identified the workers affected, calculated their entitlements and tried to resolve the issue directly with Country Health.
But management wouldn’t budge.
They maintained that members weren’t eligible for the penalty rate because employees had previously had a verbal agreement for it not to be paid.
However, they could not provide any evidence that they had consulted with members about changing the spread of hours.
So the case was referred to the United Voice legal team, who represented United Voice members all the way to the Industrial Relations Court.
The union’s position was that members had not agreed to a change in overall hours, and not advised of their entitlements to penalty rates.
Members’ perseverance and hard work paid off.
After a long, drawn-out process, Country Health finally conceded.
“There have been some delays, but it was such a relief when we won, Kerry said.
“Members sticking together and standing up to management made all the difference.
“You can do it too!”
Country Health has now backpaid all members their entitlements, for a total of over $16,000.