Negotiations for a new agreement with Lend Lease have begun, with the first bargaining meeting held on Thursday 22 September. The meeting was attended by representatives of both the CWU and the ETU (the Electrical Division of the larger CEPU), along with a number of individual employee representatives.
The first part of the meeting was taken up with explaining the framework for bargaining as established by current workplace laws. This was particularly important given the relatively large number of employee representatives, many of whom may not been involved in bargaining before.
The rest of the meeting was spent in familiarising the parties with the content of the proposed agreement.
The draft presented represents a quite dramatic simplification of an earlier agreement covering telecommunications work (the Bilfinger Berger Services Telecommunications – Installation and Maintenance Agreement) that was negotiated by Lend Lease subsidiary Bilfinger Berger (later known as Conneq Infrastructure Services). It was approved in 2010.
At present, Lend Lease employees in Victoria doing telco work are still employed under that agreement while in NSW and Queensland there is no current Enterprise Agreement in place. The CWU understands that employees in these states are operating under various arrangements, all underpinned by the Electrical Contracting Award.
Negotiating a new agreement that brings all employees onto one set of conditions while leaving no-one worse off will be a challenge, one which will require a collective approach by bargaining representatives.
That is just one reason why the CWU is urging all Lend Lease employees who will be covered by the agreement to join the union now.
While the CWU recognises that the law allows individual employees to act as bargaining reps, the fact remains that employees only have real bargaining power if they are united and speak with one voice.
If you are a Lend Lease employee and not already a member, contact the CWU now at email@example.com to get the contact details for your relevant branch.