Vinnies refutes "corporatisation" claims

The NSW St Vincent de Paul Society has emphatically rejected allegations by the Australian Services Union that the charity is becoming "corporatised".

In a statement, the Society says it "absolutely rejects" the comments of the ASU secretary, Sally McManus.

"The Society has been one of the most vocal charities in raising concerns about elements of the new industrial framework," CEO John Picot said.

The suggestion that the Society is intending to "drive its workers into AWAs" is a complete fabrication by the Union and is unambiguously rejected by the Society.

Ms McManus had earlier been reported as saying it was a scandal that an organisation with such a wonderful history of charity would now seek to turn itself into a corporation to drive its workers into AWAs - Australian Workplace Agreements.

But according to Mr Picot, "the ASU is being extremely mischievous in presenting two staff dismissals as part of such a fanciful drive".

"The matter is before the Industrial Commission and it would be inappropriate for the Society to comment other than to totally reject the ASU spin," Mr Picot said.

"The Society is in the process of surveying its employees to see how we can improve their working conditions."

"The Society believes that unions have a contribution to make to the workplace, but we are very disappointed with the belligerent attitude the ASU has adopted in the past six months.

"The union's secretary, Sally McManus has been invited to meet with me now on two occasions and has ignored the invitation.

"Their behaviour in this matter in my view has been disgraceful and does nothing to encourage the Society to sit down at the table with the ASU."

"It seems to be a reaction to the ASU's failed recruitment drive," Mr Picot concluded.

CathNews on Friday carried a Catholica report claiming that volunteers and paid staff plus the 100,000-member Australian Services Union have pledged to fight corporatisation attempts "tooth and nail".

Catholica quoted Ms McManus as saying that two Vinnies workers "have been unfairly dismissed as part of the attempts to turn a charity into a corporation and drive people into WorkChoices contracts."

"They were sacked because they insisted on their right to act as a group in their dispute with management," Catholica said.

Editor's note: In Friday's headlines, CathNews misinterpreted the statement as meaning that the workers had been sacked for refusing to sign WorkChoices contracts. The story has been removed. CathNews apologises for the error.

Vinnies respond to Union (Catholica, 19/5/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Services Union (NSW)
WorkChoices (Australian Government)
Workchoices (Wikipedia)

Vinnies denies "sacking" claims (CathNews, 6/2/07)

Fight to the death to save Vinnies as a charity (Catholica, 18/5/07)

21 May 2007

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