Negotiations for a new Enterprise Agreement in Visionstream Telecommunications (formerly Silcar Telepower) have continued over the last two weeks and appear to be moving towards an end point.
As yet, however, there has been no formal agreement between the negotiators, including the CWU, on the final content of the EA. In particular, there has been no agreement on the pay rise, with management proposing rise of only 7.2% over three years.
Feedback from employee consultations undertaken by the CWU in recent weeks suggests that many staff also remain unhappy with some of the proposed new provisions, such as the standby roster.
There is also a concern that some longstanding problems (e.g. respite after recall) have not been addressed adequately.
The Union has proposed that this issue may be best handled as an OHS concern rather than through a hard and fast EA clause which might leave employees worse off than they are under current Fatigue Management policy (when properly applied).
The CWU and other employee representatives have secured better prescriptive terms for proper OHS outcomes that will meet the requirements of current legislation. However, in an area like respite each individual should also be ready to take the initiative to ensure his/her own health and safety.
If a member is genuinely fatigued then the member must take adequate rest before returning to work or getting behind the wheel in a vehicle and putting everyone at risk. The CWU will of course support any member who feels their genuine OHS concerns are not being met by management.
On the positive side of the negotiations ledger, the proposed EA contains new protections against current staff being forced to become shift workers and an acknowledgement that the 40 minute start of day travel “give” does not apply to those who commence work at home.
A management proposal that would have allowed for the effective demotion of staff deemed not to be performing at their designated competency level has been dropped.
The CWU understands that management intend to carry out their own staff consultations on the EA in the coming weeks, prior to a formal “access period” and vote towards the end of April.
CWU members and other employees should make the most of this opportunity to raise any matters which they don’t think have been dealt with satisfactorily – especially the pay offer.