Mass Delegates meeting – 22 July 2015
With the assistance of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) on the 16th July, the ETU and the other unions were able to successfully argue against Ausgrid’s dispute contention that “we were failing to consult” on the company’s proposed Managing Excess Employees Policy (MEE) which, as members would be aware, contains a forced redundancy provision. At the FWC we identified that in order to consult on a new Redundancy, Redeployment and Salary Maintenance Policy it would subject to the following conditions;
A mass delegates meeting to gain the authority for the EBA negotiating committee to discuss the matter both within the EBA bargaining process and the AER Consultative Committee (ACC).
That any prospective implementation of a new policy should be by Agreement within the bargaining process.
The mass delegates’ meeting was agreed to by Ausgrid. At that meeting delegated authority to consult on a Redundancy and Redeployment policy within the bargaining and ACC processes was given.
EBA bargaining meeting – 29 July, 2015
The ETU/CEPU took part in the second round of revived enterprise agreement negotiations on Wednesday 29th July at the Silverwater Training Centre.
In line with the request from the ETU and other unions Ausgrid this time tabled their offer in the form of a draft agreement which included tracked changes. The previous notice to members summarized those changes which can only be described as disingenuous and clearly designed to be an unacceptable proposition given their effect of;
The ETU/CEPU and other unions also tabled a draft Agreement with tracked changes and comments as to why our changes were made. The draft agreement was tabled as a work in process and contains the following provisions which address the three matters with which our members have instructed us to negotiate on.
Draft improved Redundancy, Redeployment and Salary Maintenance clause to be incorporated in the agreement.
Draft improved Outsourcing and contracting out clause.
Draft improved Labour Hire clause.
Draft improved Fixed Term Employment clause.
No Trade Offs
A reasonable outcome on wages
The ETU/CEPU and combined unions position is a reasonable and sensible proposition in the current circumstances and responsibly reflects members concerns with respect to job security.
AER Consultative meeting – 29 July, 2015
This meeting reached agreement on a timetable for consultation and the corresponding matters that would be discussed at various dates in respect of work-force planning and identification of surplus positions as well as mix and match options. Progress with respect to “guiding principles” was also made with the unions to send Ausgrid their suggestions in writing.
Ausgrid continue to argue that they are bleeding $12.6m a month which they say is a result of 1100 unfunded jobs because of the AER determination and that they need a new MEE policy to help push people out the door. The ETU/CEPU continue to press the case that the volume of job reductions should not solely be a function of funding reductions but also a function of initiatives the union has suggested to reduce costs and increase income. These initiatives should translate in to reduced job losses. The reduced number should then be dealt with via a flexible but structured mix and match program which allows people who wish to exit the organization to take a VR package and those that want to stay to be backfilled in to those positions.
To date the company has been intent on picking and choosing who they want to go and who they want to stay and as a result of not getting a high enough uptake they now attempt to argue that you should accept a slash and burn of your agreement conditions and pay. The union will not accept a proposition which says that because of Ausgrid’s incompetent and lazy management of the exercise – you should have to pay.
On 24th July 2015, the ETU/CEPU wrote to Ausgrid asking them to state their position with respect to whether or not they could or would;
Introduce their proposed MEE policy outside the Enterprise Agreement and;
Introduce forced redundancies, given the no forced redundancy provision in the Electricity Sales Act legislation.
In response to our 24th July correspondence on Thursday 30th July, Ausgrid’s NSW taxpayer funded lawyers wrote to the Fair Work Commission and the ETU/CEPU stating that they now intend to have the FWC arbitrate on their ability to simply introduce their MEE policy once “consultation” is complete.
On 30th July SDP Hamberger considered Ausgrid’s request during a report back on the policy consultation and has determined that the matter be referred to Fair Work’s Vice President Hatcher in order that he determine the matter by arbitration at the FWC. The matter was reviewed by VP Hatcher yesterday afternoon. Details of the outcome will be forthcoming.
Last week Ausgrid argued we weren’t consulting with them, now that we are, they want to override the consultation outcome and simply implement their MEE policy. Their action is contemptuous of their employees and hits a new low even when measured against the recent history of Vince Graham’s actions.
In the meantime the ETU/CEPU will continue to consult on the Agreement and the Redundancy, Redeployment and Salary Maintenance policy in the interests of our members as outlined above. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact either of us.
MARK BUTTIGIEG - 0417 208 447 / firstname.lastname@example.org
JUSTIN PAGE - 0414 877 301 / email@example.com