Many people with disabilities in the Hunter region of NSW will be forced to go without the 24-hour care they need from Monday following moves to cut disability support workers’ hours.
Instead of being provided with the required 24-hour support, the eight-hour night shift will be abolished and replaced with a ‘sleep-over’ shift, where workers will be paid a minimal amount – less than a quarter of the usual wage – to sleep in the residence, but not to provide constant care.
Australian Services Union (ASU) Secretary Sally McManus said the cost cutting move by organization, the Accommodation Network, just days out from Christmas would put the lives of both the people with disabilities and the workers at risk.
“Many residents are awake throughout the night and wander throughout the house. They can open the front door, turn on appliances in the kitchen or water in the bathroom. These people require 24-hour care, without it they can endanger themselves and everyone else in the house. That the organisation would remove that care when they know of the need for constant support is bordering on neglect,” Ms
“Workers on a ‘sleep over’ shift are meant to be sleeping, not constantly supporting or monitoring the needs of the residents. One client is in a wheelchair and cannot get out of bed without assistance. If they need to visit the bathroom during the night there will be no one there to help them – this is disgraceful”.
The affected workers will meet tomorrow, Friday 19 December at 9am at the ACU office in Newcastle, to discuss their options.