United Voice members 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.
They had all applied for permanency, but all their applications were rejected.
“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 member Tammy said.
“So I wasn’t going to give up the fight.”
Luckily, United Voice had negotiated provisions for workers to pursue the matter further.
When these members contacted the Members’ Rights Centre in late 2017, the union obtained all the relevant timesheets and agreed they should be eligible for permanency.
Once their files were collated and referred to the union’s legal team, the union filed industrial disputes in the South Australian Employment Tribunal on behalf of all four members.
Initially, only three of them were offered conversion, and then they were offered contracted hours much lower than they actually worked.
But Tammy, Kerry, Pauline and Lorri all stuck together and wouldn’t accept the offer.
United Voice kept up negotiations and put back their original proposal of fair hours.
In April 2018, after months of fighting the workers won their permanent hours.
“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.”
Having a job you can count on means secure hours.