Workers at the Aboriginal Hostels Limited (AHL) have been offered a pay rise of three per cent over three years, which is half the six per cent increase offered to the vast majority of organisations within the Commonwealth public sector.
The organisation, whose staff is 67 per cent Indigenous, provides accommodation to Indigenous people from rural areas of Australia.
The Community and Public Sector Union released a statement criticising the government’s offer.
“This is the worst pay offer on the table anywhere in the Commonwealth public sector and in fact it’s half what’s being offered, and categorically rejected, by the vast majority of people working in the public sector,” union deputy-secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said.
“Aboriginal Hostels has been starved of adequate funding and now the government appears to expect these workers to make up the shortfall out of their own pockets.
“Aboriginal Hostels Limited provides a critical link in providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with access to services that most Australians take for granted.
“These workers are not well paid to begin with despite the fact they work extremely hard to provide healthy food and a clean and safe environment and many are on call 24 hours a day.
“So it’s absolutely disgraceful that they’re being offered a pay rise of just 1 per cent a year.”
The organisation provided more than 500,000 nights accommodation over the past financial year.
An AHL spokesman told SBS that staff are expected to vote on the new enterprise agreement in coming weeks.
“AHL has carefully considered its financial position over the next three years and this offer represents the highest offer AHL can afford without compromising services at our hostels and to our clients,” the spokesman said.
“AHL is committed to ensuring that any offer does not affect the delivery of frontline services.
“AHL, like all Commonwealth agencies, is required to work within the government’s bargaining framework.”
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion has been contacted for comment.