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Member update – AWU / IVC job security plan

March 26, 2020

COVID-19 is posing a significant risk to stability and sustainability of the funeral industry. Crucial but tough social distancing measures are reducing the capacity to run funerals and are significantly impacting the viability of funeral and cemetery businesses across the country.

The Prime Minister’s announcement to restrict funerals to 10 people is already impacting the staffing requirements and cash flow of Invocare, in turn putting significant pressure on the job security and financial stability of our members. Our primary concern is, and always will be, your ongoing employment and ability to provide for your families in these tough periods.

These challenges require difficult decisions to be made. Over the previous 48 hours, the AWU has been negotiating with the Invocare executive group to develop a plan that can maintain maximum employment so when we come out the other side of this crisis every AWU member who had a job, still has a job.

You’ve received an outline of the proposal from the company already, but the main points of this proposal are:

  • Full time employees will take 1 day each week of annual or long service leave for 5 weeks.
  • Part time employees will do so at a pro-rata rate of 20% of time worked.
  • Leave already booked will count towards the total.
  • Those without leave can use recreational days (where they apply) and go into negative leave.
  • Exemptions are in place for crucial roles.

Why this proposal?

This proposal will reduce pressure on the company’s revenue during this period but more importantly for our members it ensures:

  • No reduction in head count at this point in time.
  • The burden is shared across the company. Management, executives and salaried staff are sharing the pain and not leaving it to our members to weather the crisis.
  • There will be no financial impact on any permanent employees. While leave balances will be reduced, all permanent employees will continue to receive the same weekly pay to ensure you can continue to pay rent, bills etc.
  • There may be some reduction in casual hours. Casuals will continue to be employed with Invocare moving forward which will allow us to protect the most financially vulnerable members.

What else is being done to handle this crisis?

  • Reduction or removal of labour hire, contractors etc. As work diminishes priority will be given to employees to pick up extra work where needed, and the company has provided commitments to limit the use of any external labour.
  • Expenditure on non-essential capital projects has been halted including the company’s “protect and grow strategy”.

Your Union will continue to do everything we can to protect your jobs. Just as in good times, we will advocate for you to receive a fair share, maintain your dignity and find ways to help you get through these tough times.

We will update you as soon as we have further developments. If you have any questions, please  call your AWU Organiser.


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