Negotiations for a new Enterprise Agreement for the former Silcar Communications, now part of Visionstream, were held on 20th and 21st June.
As reported in previous Bulletins, the aim of these negotiations is to create arrangements that will protect Silcar employees transitioning to Visionstream as a result of the amalgamation of the two companies last year.
There are some significant differences in the conditions and pay rates currently applying to the employees of these two companies, with the Silcar conditions generally being better than those in Visionstream.
The current Visionstream agreement will be up for renegotiation in 2018 but in the meantime a mechanism is needed that will allow the integration of the two workforces without disadvantaging the Silcar employees.
At the recent meetings, the parties worked to identify the key differences between the two current agreements with a view to seeing whether certain Silcar conditions could be “grandfathered” or perhaps cashed out as part of a transition to a single agreement in 2018.
Areas scheduled for discussion included hours of work (36 ¾ in Silcar, 38 in Visionstream), working away from home allowances, overtime rates (all at double time in Silcar), excess leave provisions and, of course, the wage rise for Silcar employees, who have not had an increase since July 2015.
It has been agreed that after this current round of discussions, a nation-wide consultation with employees will be held to report on negotiations and receive feedback on proposals. Members will be kept informed of the timetable for these meetings.