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Ventia field EA: company digs in on real-terms pay cut for workers

Bargaining has continued between the CWU and Ventia. At our last meeting, the company put forward its position on several outstanding items. A summary of those responses are as follows:

  1. ST3 level Classification for warehouse employees. The Company has agreed to include this additional level as a progression point from ST3. It is intended that an ST2 receiving leading hand allowance would automatically be classified as ST3 (in lieu of the leading hand allowance.) the company has proposed this be classified at level 10 on the Agreement pay scale. They say that this would be more beneficial than the leading hand allowance, which is proposed to be $80pw (currently $68pw). We believe the appropriate salary level for the new role is level 11 given this role carries the highest level of accountability within the warehouse at any given time. The next in charge would be the manager who is not always on site and whose salary is unknown, as it is a level not within the scope of the EA.
  2. Work/life balance/ extra annual leave  – Wireless group.  The Company has continued to refer to an intention to schedule work in a way that will provide a better work/life balance for employees who spend long periods working away from home.  Employees are not being paid enough to be treated as FIFO workers, effectively, and the promise of more palatable rostering is not enough. Ventia has referred to including the ability to make 21/7 or 10/4 rosters; however, this does not guarantee anything. Also, this is not suitable for riggers. The Union claim was two-fold; compensate workers better, considering their time away from home, and place some parameters around the length of the periods away. The company has committed to undertake a further review of our claims and respond at a later date.
  3.  Removal of LH/TL allowances – Ventia proposed the removal of leading hand and team leader allowances with reliance on the higher duties clause to cover these scenarios, citing simplification. In this proposal, HD would kick in as soon as an employee begins performing the higher role (i.e. no minimum period for entitlement.) Whilst we see that these three entitlements are of a similar nature and are to some extent legacy products and that the proposal is a implication, we are concerned that there may be unintended impacts that arise from the removal of these allowances. Without further information, we cannot fully understand the impact on workers and therefore cannot agree to this. Furthermore,  we are seeking a limit on the period that HD can be utilised.
  4. Private Motor Vehicle use – Ventia has agreed to pay $85c per kilometre for use of a private motor vehicle for work purposes and that this will be increased in line with rates, as reviewed and published, by the ATO.
  5. RDO Frequency- Ventia has advised that it does not support a shift to a 9-day fortnight and that Rostered Days Off will remain at one per month.
  6. Personal Leave – Ventia has rejected the claim to increase the number of days of personal leave accrued each year, by employees.
  7. Allowance increases. Company has proposed increase of 3% on the following allowances:
    1. On call – A 3% increase from $147pw would be only $151.41pw, which is completely unacceptable. Employees can be on call for 40 hours per week which has a huge impact on their work/life balance and their ability to partake in personal and family events and experiences. An extra 10c per hour is not acceptable. The Union claim for on call allowance to increase to $200pw is maintained.
    2. Height Allowance.     
    3. Leading hand – A 3% increase from $68pw would be $70.04pw. We don’t consider this increase to be appropriate.    
  8. Overtime – The Company has rejected the claim for OT to be paid at double time for all hours Mon – Sat and wish to retain the payment of 150% for the first two hours with double thereafter.    
  9. Daily travel – The company has rejected the Union claim to reduce daily travel in own time to 40min each way (from the current 60min).     
  10. Wage increase – the company has offered a wage increase of 3% per annum for 3 years. This offer falls short of what is fair and equitable for this group of employees in this context and is completely unacceptable.  The Union claim of 4% pa or CPI, whichever is greater, is reasonable in the context of three years of below inflation wage rises, amounting to a pay cut in real terms as well as an increasing workload and profitable business.   

Our next bargaining meeting is 18 April, where we will continue to pursue a fair outcome for CWU members and will continue to report back to you as the process continues. 

In the meantime, members with concerns  should you require any further information, please contact your State Branch Official for assistance.

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