Optus has succeeded in its application to continue to have an enterprise award rather than being covered by several modern industry awards.
The Fair Work Commission, which heard the application, handed down its decision on 21 October.
Under the award modernisation process, all existing enterprise awards ceased to operate at the end of 2013 unless an application was made to modernise them before that date.
In the case of Optus, this would have led to most employees being covered by the Telecommunications Services Award.
The CWU supported Optus’ application because it considered that, on balance, modernising the current Optus award provided the best outcome for Optus employees. A key factor for the CWU was preserving the (up to) 40 weeks redundancy entitlement in the Optus award. Under the Telecommunications Services Award employees are only entitled to a maximum of 16 weeks redundancy pay.
At the time of the hearing, the CWU did, however, propose a number of changes to Optus’ draft award. These issues, as well as some questions raised by the FWC, have still to be resolved. The union is confident, however, that the end result will not weaken the current award safety net for Optus employees.