Union members are celebrating two new collective employment agreements in the community and public service sector
Support workers at VisionWest Community Trust have secured their first ever PSA collective employment agreement.
The benefits to members include increased sick and bereavement leave, paid time for mandatory training, guaranteed hours provisions and a process for increasing guaranteed hours.
“It was incredibly frustrating but we did good,” delegate Tessa Clement says of the two years of bargaining it took to achieve the agreement.
Tessa says an increase in sick leave from five to seven days is less than the 10 days the bargaining team wanted, but it’s a step in the right direction for members.
“Community support workers can’t go into client’s homes when we are sick. It is important that we don’t put them at risk.”
While welcoming the agreement, Tessa says they also need to continue to campaign for improvements to travel time payments.
“Currently the payments do not compensate for the time nor the costs of running our own cars.”
A separate first-ever collective employment agreement for VisionWest coordinating and administration workers is being negotiated.
SALVATION ARMY FAMILY STORES AGREEMENT
The PSA is also celebrating the first ever collective employment agreement for workers in Salvation Army Family Stores.
While other Salvation Army workers already had the option of joining a PSA collective agreement, this extends union organisation to workers in the family stores.
Those workers are excited by the agreement and the organising work of the PSA.
“We want to be able to improve pay and conditions, educate workers about their rights and support them to be confident, safe and happy in their places of work,” says national organiser Joe Kelly.
While the workers are in retail stores, they are also providing a social service. They work with many different people in the stores, including volunteers and provide support to those who are doing community service or gaining work experience.
Joe says the agreement, bargained by the previous national organiser Sarah Parry, provides a great opportunity to grow PSA membership at the Salvation Army. Although only a minority of workers in Family Stores are currently union members the PSA plans to contact workers in all 100 stores to encourage them to join.
PSA Pasefika union members have been voicing their support for the Pasefika community during the latest Covid outbreak.