Kerry, Pauline, Tammy and Lorri worked as casuals in the kitchens of the Lyell McEwin Hospital for SA Health.
Their casual employment had gone on for some years.
They are covered by an Enterprise Agreement, negotiated by United Voice, which provides a pathway for regular casuals to convert to permanent employment.
Kerry, Pauline, Tammy and Lorri all wanted to go down that pathway, but were all knocked back.
Luckily the provisions also provide a right to pursue the claim where the worker thinks the refusal is unreasonable.
“When I was casual, every time my kids asked if we could do something together I always had to tell them ‘Only if Mummy doesn’t get called in to work’,” United Voice memberTammy said.
“So I wasn’t going to give up the fight.”
When the workers contacted United Voice’s Members’ Rights Centre in late 2017 the union obtained the relevant timesheets and agreed they were all eligible, their files were collated and referred to the union’s legal team. From there industrial disputes were filed in the South Australian Employment Tribunal.
In April 2017 after months of fighting the workers won their permanent hours.
Initially only three of them were offered conversion and they were subsequently offered contracted hours much lower than they actually worked. The workers stuck together and didn’t accept the offer.
They rejected the offer and put back a fair number of hours based on what they worked.
In response SA Health conceded offering the hours asked for by all four workers.
“When I told the kids that we had won, and that Mummy was going to be on a regular roster, my daughter said to me ‘Oh Mummy we can be a real family now!’,” Tammy said.
“It broke my heart but just made the whole fight worthwhile.”
“I’m on a regular roster now so the kids know when I’m going to be working, and we can plan to spend time together as a family.”
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