Worker says 'Union Membership Pays'

Union member gets $15,000 back pay with regards ongoing WorkCover Weekly Payments.

A member (we'll call him 'Joe'), who works in rendering, suffered an serious injury in late 2007. He had a short time off and went back to work, but he was not able to return to his pre-injury duties. He could only work limited hours and the duties that he could do meant going from night shift to day shift.

The amount of his pay dropped dramatically. He was concerned, so he sought the help of his Union Organiser and came to the Union Health & Safety/WorkCover Officer.

Fortunately, he kept his pay slips, group certificate and the letters from WorkCover, so we were able to check his pay against his entitlements under the Accident Compensation Act. His pre-injury average weekly earnings (as calculated by the Claims Agent) had not taken account of his 'salary sacrifice' nor of his regular overtime. Nor had the company paid him 'make up pay' that was included in the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement when his WorkCover payments dropped below the level that accident pay should have cut in.

The Union Officers raised these issues with the company who agreed to review his pay and talk to their Claims Agent. Eventually they agreed that his entitlements had not been calculated properly and the Union's calculations were right. 'Joe' got $15,000 back pay.

He was pleased and recognised that if he had not been a member of the Union he would not have been able to pursue his rights. Joe reminds other workers of the importance of being a financial member of the Union.