The Guardian 13 July, 2005

YMCA eyes IR changes

A Queensland employer has decided to attack childcare, disability support and fitness workers by not negotiating in good faith with unions. Bundaberg YMCA has decided to push forward on a ballot for what union members see as a sub-standard agreement.

This strategy comes just as the Federal government prepares to pass new laws limiting workers' rights to be represented by unions and to have wages protected.

The YMCA, who recently sacked a worker for allegedly yelling at a child who was about to bite another child, is determined to take full advantage of the new laws restricting unfair dismissals in workplaces with less than 100 employees.

The YMCA has 96 employees who under this new regime would not even be able to defend themselves. Moreover, the YMCA agreement does not even support an employee being represented by their union.

Susan Burgess, a past employee who was sacked, said, "Childcare workers are often stood over and intimidated when it comes to their rights because we are in a caring industry and we work hard for the kids."

LHMU Child Care Union Organiser, David Pullen said, "The agreement is being balloted against employees' wishes after negotiations broke down when workers wanted the union to represent them."

Mr Pullen added that "the right for childcare workers to have representation and to have their conditions protected is the issue at hand and this agreement does not protect them."

Mr Pullen concluded, "The Y should be a community leader, not an organisation that could be seen as lowering employees' conditions."

Bundaberg Queensland Council of Unions Secretary, Greg Purches, said, "We fully support the fight that workers at the Y are engaging in and call on the employer not to go ahead with the ballot. Bundaberg workers should be concerned about this as it affects the quality of care in the childcare industry."

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