The CWU met with Silcar Communications on 8-9 August for what was the third meeting in the current negotiations for a transitional agreement covering current employees.
As explained in earlier E-bulletins, the aim of these discussions is to find a way of bringing the conditions of these employees closer to those in the Visionstream Fieldwork Agreement with a view to having the two groups of workers covered by a single agreement in 2018.
Silcar has proposed a number of mechanisms for doing this, including simply “red circling” ie preserving some current entitlements until 2018 and buying out others with a one-off payment.
Buying out has been proposed, for instance, as a way of dealing with differences between the two agreements in relation to hours of work (36 ¾ vs 38 hours), overtime rates (all at double time in current Silcar agreement), redundancy entitlements (MERT etc) and superannuation payments (super only paid on ordinary hours, not overtime, in Visionstream agreement).
No agreement has been reached on any of these key issues and there has also been no discussion at all on the pay rise.
The negotiators, including other employee representatives, have taken the view that the next step should be further employee consultations so as to judge what level of support – if any – there may be for management’s current position.