SA aged care workers take strike action
About 100 aged care workers and support staff in Adelaide have taken industrial action over a wages and conditions dispute.
The Health Services Union says multiple RDNS worksites held protected one-hour stop work meetings on Friday.
It says workers are facing pay freezes and a loss of conditions in a proposed employment agreement.
The union says RDNS is putting the agreement out to a vote of workers despite it not being endorsed by the negotiating parties.
"RDNS pretended to listen to the workers reasonable demands, ignored them, shut down negotiations and are rushing through a weak employment agreement at the first opportunity," union state secretary Billy Elrick said in a statement.
"It is an attempt to silence these voices of these important workers, and they are rightly fed up.
"These workers do a brilliant job caring for some of the most vulnerable in our community, they deserve a fair pay rise that values their work and keeps them from drowning under the cost of living."
The union said workers had been striving for a fair wage increase and to maintain their employment conditions since the privatisation of domiciliary care services to the RDNS/Silver Chain Group in 2018.
It said the short disruption to services on Friday was chosen to minimise the impact to clients.
In a statement, the Silver Chain group said the national enterprise agreement on the table included competitive industry rates and conditions for all employees and gave 93 per cent of its national non-nursing workforce a pay increase.
"Only a small percentage of our non-nursing workforce has indicated it may be involved in industrial action," it said.
"These workers include former domiciliary care employees who were on legacy government packages that were significantly higher than the industry standard.
"For these employees we have offered to maintain their former public sector pay rates with some roles receiving an increase to pay during the term of the agreement."
Silver Chain said as a not-for-profit organisation it sought to strike a balance between recognising and rewarding its people while ensuring its operations were sustainable.
"Since August 2020 Silver Chain has been working in good faith with the Health Services Union and our people to reach an outcome in a timely manner," it said.
"We have met with the Health Services Union, among other bargaining representatives, and incorporated outcomes to negotiations into the final draft agreement which has been shared with our national, non-nursing, workforce."
© AAP 2021