Silcar Telecommunications employees will at last be able to vote on a new Enterprise Agreement following approval of the draft agreement by the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
Under federal government laws, companies wishing to tender for Commonwealth work over a certain threshold value have to make sure their agreements with employees comply with the Building Code 2016.
The Code is specifically designed to weaken the role of unions – and consequently the power of employees to act together to defend conditions.
For instance, under the Code an EA can’t have clauses that restrict the ability of employers to contract out work to subbies.
The draft Silcar Telecommunications EA was ready to go to ballot late last year but was held up by the ABCC approval process. Fortunately for members, the company agreed to pay the first two rises due under the agreement (one being back pay) anyway.
The agreement itself however also contains important new provisions, including guarantees for existing employees in relation to shift work, an on-call clause with related allowance and improvements to start-of-day procedures.
The date for the ballot should be known shortly.