Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fremantle Convenor says Farewell

We want to take this opportunity to give praise to Carmel Reynolds ex Fremantle Convenor.
I have known Carmel for over 11 years. In 2005 when we were looking for a replacement for the previous Fremantle Convenor Barbara Kirkbride, Carmel volunteered to give it a go. Carmel had no Trade Union experience, little did she know what challenges she would face. Everyone in our branch, everyone in our region and everyone in our Union nationally agree that Carmel has been an inspiration to us all.

Last Friday we said our goodbyes to Carmel but for the final word, we are going to print an email Carmel sent to the Fremantle Chief Executive Carole Sawyers earlier this week which sums up Carmel and what our campaign is all about

“Dear Carol,

I'm sure you thought you had heard the last of me but I need to say a few things re the staff I left behind. Now that I have the time to reflect on the past 23 years I have to say that I have worked with some amazing people. People who have committed themselves to caring for older people, a not so glamorous task in itself but hugely rewarding. Now that young people have so much choice career wise it amazes me that some will want to come into care work and stay in it.

I and my colleagues stayed for all the right reasons, it offered security, decent standard of living, good training, good prospects, and the T&C we had reflected the respect our employers had for us as carers. When we lost these T&C we lost not only money, holidays etc, but also the feeling that we were worth investing in. Losing self esteem in our employment was soul shattering. I am probably not explaining myself very well but my colleagues and I always felt that none of this ever mattered to Fremantle, we felt we were been used and abused. I know these are strong words but our loss was devastating.

Carol some of your staff who suffered so much financial loss had bailiffs knocking on their door over the xmas period, spent so much of that holiday working instead of spending time with their families. These same staff always gave so much extra of themselves without question to the residents, things like coming in on rest day to take them to hospital, or changing day off to attend review, even popping into the hospital in their own time to visit a resident etc. I could go on. The point I am trying to make is that Caring is based on so much good will, staff will put in the time and effort but will the Employer.

Carol you do have some wonderful staff who will stay and help build Fremantle’s reputation if you treat them well, respect them and don’t force them into working so many hours that they cannot be good carers. Make them feel valued, not second rate employees.

I wish you and Fremantle Trust success, and I wish all my ex colleagues a good and loyal Employer.
Carmel Reynolds.

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