United Voice members perform many roles in our hospitals and health system – including working in laundries that provide our hospitals and other businesses with clean linen.
Spotless workers recently won backpay for a meal allowance that was underpaid.
Under the Spotless Dudley Park Enterprise Agreement, laundry workers are entitled to a meal allowance when they work overtime unexpectedly.
For years, workers were being asked to extend their shift on an almost daily basis but not being paid the meal allowance.
Members knew that something wasn’t right. They went to their United Voice Organiser to find out what could be done.
United Voice informed Spotless management of the entitlement that wasn’t being paid.
Spotless, however, refused to agree that there was any underpayment.
So the United Voice Members Rights Centre gathered evidence on behalf of seven members and threatened legal proceedings.
Finally, Spotless agreed that there was an underpayment. They offered $800 to each of the affected workers as compensation.
When United Voice surveyed members, it was clear that they were entitled to more than $800 each.
So members decided to fight.
The dispute went on for more than a year.
Once Spotless admitted that members had been underpaid, they sent through a spreadsheet of instances when members had been underpaid.
But their calculations were too low. It wasn’t over yet.
United Voice representatives carefully checked the Spotless spreadsheet against payslips and records in order to establish that members were entitled to a higher amount.
After lengthy discussions, Spotless finally conceded to investigate the matter properly.
New figures showed they were entitled to much more.
Members were backpaid a total of $10,789 in December 2017.
One member in particular who had been offered $800 to settle eventually received over $4000.
One member said: “Something I learned from all this was to keep accurate records. In a dispute, having evidence makes all the difference.
“If you think something’s not right, make sure to keep all of your paperwork and write down when things happen.
“And make sure to call your union!”