THE nurses' union and Family and Community Services will be in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on Wednesday morning over the transfer of staff from the Stockton Centre, Tomaree Lodge and Kanangra disability centres.
NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association organiser Nola Scilinato said the union had lodged its dispute with the commission because staff at the disability centres believed there had been "a lack of consultation" by FACS.
"Initially, the only information from FACS was that everybody would be going across [to the group homes replacing the large residential centres]," Ms Scilinato said.
"Now that's not the case and there's no trust in FACS.
"Members are saying 'why should we believe them now'."
Under the FACS plan, 126 of 410 nursing staff will not be going to the 69 group homes to be run by non-government organisations.
As well as the nurses, FACS documents reveal that another 350 positions at the three centres are to go by the end of next year, including doctors, nursing managers, clerks, disability support workers, support officers, day program staff, tradespeople, drivers, security staff and kitchen hands.
This number is understood to include FACS staff who were based in Newcastle until their offices were relocated recently to the Stockton Centre.
The nurses' union dispute has been listed as a compulsory conference before Commissioner Janine Webster at Parramatta at 10am.
It was called after rank and file members at branch meetings at Stockton and Kanangra called for their union to take action.
Although the industrial commission hearing is mainly about nursing jobs, the Newcastle Herald has been told by a number of staff about concerns for the well-being of the 300-plus residents, who will be transferring from a system based around care by registered nurses (RNs) enrolled nurses (ENs) and assistants in nursing (AINs) to one using disability support workers (DSWs).
Information sent this month to transferring staff indicates that FACS hopes to start transferring residents from next month, July.
A spokesperson for FACS said the agency would not comment on "a matter before the commission".
Further reading: Nurses' union says families kept in the dark over transfers