Negotiations for a Silcar Telecommunications Enterprise Agreement are nearing their conclusion but government policy looks set to delay a vote on the latest proposal.
Since May, when employees rejected a proposed agreement, the CWU and other employee representatives have been working on a revised draft that addresses concerns identified by employees.
We are now close to being in a position to put a revised proposal out for consideration. Unfortunately though the EA process has now been caught up in red tape.
Because Silcar may at some point want to tender for federal government work (on the NBN, for instance) it wants to ensure that the new EA is in line with the Turnbull government’s draft Building Code.
The Code places several restrictions on the content of EAs and failure to comply with it will disqualify companies from getting federal government building work.
Although it is not yet law, it will act retrospectively if it is passed by the parliament. So companies in the construction sector are now all lining up to have the Fair Work Building Commission (FWBC) tick their EAs off as being code compliant.
The result is a backlog of applications. Silcar/Visionstream has been advised that it will be at least 4 weeks before the proposed EA is dealt with by the FWBC. Further employee consultations and the formal voting process have been postponed until that time.