Union Welcomes Vinnies Suspension
14 July 2010 at 5:23 pm
The Australian Services Union (ASU) has welcomed the move by National Council of the St Vincent De Paul Society to suspend its NSW Board saying the bullying allegations may be just the 'tip of the iceberg'.
The suspension comes amid suggestions that the current management of the NSW Board had embraced a corporate model of management, which resulted in a combative and bullying culture within the senior ranks of the Society.
Sally McManus, ASU NSW Branch Secretary says the for the past five years the Union has been concerned about the direction of the Society and hopes that this move will lead to improved conditions within the organisation.
McManus says the situation has had a serious affect on the Society's workers and its volunteers.
She says ASU members saw the Boards approach to be at odds with the core beliefs of the Society and this has caused on-going and un-necessary conflict with its workers and their Union.
McManus claims that the Board is ultimately responsible for the rip off's and mismanagement that have characterised Vinnies in NSW over the past five years.
She says reviews found the NSW Society underpaid its workers by a quarter of a million dollars and that Vinnies unfairly dismissed two ASU members. In NSW, the Union says Vinnies has also attempted to push through a WorkChoices agreement that was voted down by the staff and has failed to publically support an Equal Pay Case that is broadly supported by community service employers.
McManus says the Union can only assume this behaviour was sanctioned by the Board, and could be the tip of the iceberg.
The Branch Secretary says the NSW St Vincent de Paul has behaved like the worst of private sector employers, focusing more on controlling workers and bashing the union than what they should be focused on – supporting the disadvantaged.
McManus says she has personally made numerous attempts to try and establish a mutually respectful relationship with the top management of the NSW Society but constantly hit a brick wall.
She says nationally and in other States, ASU has very positive relationship with the Society.
She says the Union welcomes this intervention and looks forward to working together with the new Board in the interest of the workers of the Society, the grass roots membership, and the thousands of people they support.
The CEO of the National Council of St Vincent De Paul, Dr John Falzon has told the ABC that the suspension of the board is not a dispute about how things should be done but rather about the fidelity of the organisation.
He would not disclose any of the bullying allegations or aspects of the corporatisation issues but said a process was underway to allow staff and members to come forward with their information and stories.