'Almost all' aged care workers to be offered other roles
UPDATE, 3pm: A SPOKESPERSON from Uniting says the organisation is five weeks into an eight-week consultation process relating to job changes at its Goonellabah facility.
"We anticipate being able to offer permanent roles to almost all affected employees, provided they have the skills and choose to take up alternative roles," the spokesperson said.
"At the same time, dedicated care hours for residents will increase, and we're providing training to affected staff to enable them to take up the additional hours.
"Staff have been consulted extensively and have been actively involved in co-designing the structure of the new rosters.
"We have found that in the majority of cases, staff have welcomed the training and the opportunity to take new roles.
"Sadly, one person so far has decided not to take up the offer to consider alternative roles, and we are supporting them through the process.
"While the consultation process continues, we anticipate a small number of people will not make the change to new roles, and we will also support them.
"As previously advised, we are streamlining the hours in the main kitchen to make our operations in Goonellabah more sustainable.
"The main change is that the final preparation and serving of meals will occur in the resident's households rather than the central kitchen.
"We acknowledge there will be a small number of reductions in roles overall.
"This mainly affects the central kitchen to enable the sustainability of the operations in Goonellabah."
Original story: A UNION which represents staff and workers at a Goonellabah aged care facility has said staff cuts will occur despite the facility operator denying it would slash jobs and worker hours.
Last month Uniting Care Caroona claimed correspondence which showed25 positions would be discontinued and another 60 workers would be affected by shift changes was incorrect.
But now the Health Services Union has said Uniting Care have advised them that the restructure will involve job cuts invoking the equivalent of seven full-time equivalent positions.
While a United Care spokesman had previously said the proposed staff changes were, "only an estimate, and was incorrectly misrepresented by the HSU (Health Services Union) as staff cuts", HSU Aged Care Manager Rob Sheehy said the slashing of staff hours and roles looks like going ahead.
"Uniting has recently clarified some of the details surrounding its proposed new workplace model," he said.
"Uniting has advised that the changes to working arrangements at Caroona will see a new total of 267.9 rostered hours lost per fortnight, or seven Full Time Employee (FTE) equivalent positions.
"This includes a reduction of over 1048 hours per fortnight, or 27 FTE positions, from the central kitchen and catering division (and) no rostered hours have been scheduled for cooks or kitchen hands on the weekend."
Mr Sheedy said these reductions are offset by an increase of 20 FTE care-related positions, resulting in the net decrease of seven FTEs.
"Uniting has said it will give affected staff the opportunity to move into some of the new positions being created, however these are not like-for-like positions," he said.
"The HSU will continue working with our members and Uniting to address concerns over workload management, occupational health and safety, and patient care at Caroona."
Mr Sheehy said the discussion also refutes Uniting Care's earlier claims that there are no plans to close the central kitchen at Caroona in Goonellabah.
A Uniting Care spokesman last month said the food preparation model is not changing.
"We will not be reheating frozen plated meals," he said.
But according to the HSU the aged care facility's kitchen is being closed on weekends, with meals prepared in advance during the week.
Uniting Care has been contacted for comment.