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Postal e-Bulletin 2013 - #11

  1. EBA8 news
  2. APSS superannuation
  3. Decipha slow on pay offer
  4. Maximum period of sick leave
  5. Purchased or 48/52 leave
  6. Pilot on scanners in vans
  7. ACTU welcomes resolution of the Labor leadership and acknowledges contribution of Julia Gillard
  8. Labor gets last minute workplace legislation through parliament

1. EBA8 news

The Fair Work Act allows Post to walk away from negotiations and take an EBA to staff. They have. You will have noted by now that some branches support Post while others do not. An attempt was made to authorise the Communications Division office to provide all members with a balanced assessment of the EBA (a YES/NO case). This was vetoed by the YES group.

A number of attempts were made to achieve a fair agreement that rewarded members after two years of 1.5% pay rises. The proposed EBA will continue with another 1.5% increase - well behind cost of living for the third year. The proposed EBA is not fair in the circumstances and is not supported by the Divisional Office.

2. APSS superannuation

During negotiations some Branches agreed to a freeze of the FAS. Thankfully membership reaction killed that option for the time being.  At the moment a new clause in the "rolled over" EBA - clause 41.6 - affects the APSS. This new clause appears to partially freeze FAS. It has not been explained by the YES camp or Post. One interpretation is that any salary movement by promotion or increments will not be reflected in your FAS. Allowances may also be marginally affected.

Members should be aware that the APSS Deed is not part of the EBA. The Deed allows Post to vary certain defined benefits unilaterally. An attempt was made to get Post to agree that they will not make changes to APSS during the life of the EBA. This was rejected by Post. APSS is not protected by the EBA.

Remember what Ahmed said in his letter to all staff, ‘Once an agreement is finalised I will work with our counterpart in APSS – the ACTU- to conduct a review of APSS ‘etc.

3. Decipha slow on pay offer

We are continuing to negotiate a new enterprise agreement with Decipha.  Some progress has been made, for example the parties agree we need address the unfairness of junior rates, tea breaks, taking annual leave and requests for flexible working arrangements etc. But we have been over and over the same claims many times.  Even though Decipha say they want a back to back agreement (the nominal expiry date of the current agreement is 30th June 2013)  the real question is:  Why, with all this time, money and energy being spent on negotiations are they not saying what they really want and putting a pay offer on the table for negotiation?

It’s quite obvious that Decipha just want to delay making a pay offer.  It’s time Decipha took their foot off the brake and accepted that there are real benefits for their business from providing fair and reasonable wages and conditions to workers, i.e. improved morale and therefore a more productive workforce.

In the meantime we are asking members to go for it, get involved.  Ask a friend to join the union – every member increases your bargaining power.  Ask work mates what they think is a fair pay rise.  Talk to your local union delegate about how everyone’s voice can be heard.

4. Maximum period of sick leave

We have had a number of enquiries about the maximum period of sick leave an employee is entitled to when he/she has been directed onto sick leave under Australia Post’s non-work related medical restrictions policy.

In essence, an employee is entitled up to 78 weeks continuous absence due to illness, including up to 52 weeks of continuous paid sick leave, depending on an employee’s sick leave credits.

If an employee’s sick leave credits have expired then recreation leave and long service leave may be used instead of leave without pay.

5. Purchased or 48/52 leave

The Union has become aware that Australia Post is unilaterally knocking back applications for purchased or 48/52 leave because employees may have availed themselves of sick leave entitlements.

The current enterprise agreement commits Post to promote a number of Work/Life initiatives including purchased or 48/52 leave, which is unpaid.  All permanent full-time and part-time employees may apply for 48/52 leave. The only requirement in the agreement for an application for 48/52 leave is that it must be mutually beneficial to both the business and employees and consistent with operational needs.

There is nothing in the agreement that entitles a manager to consider an employee’s sick leave history and then knock back their application for 48/52 based on same. Post is not entitled to unilaterally take into account factors that should not be taken into account, such as sick leave, when processing applications for 48/52.

Purchased or 48/52 leave provides an additional four weeks leave per year which is very useful for workers who may be trying to balance their family and work lives.  If your application has been unfairly knocked back then contact your CWU delegate or CWU branch for assistance.

6. Pilot on scanners in vans

Post has advised the CWU of its intention to conduct a pilot on the use of scanners by PTOs in vans.  Now Post propose to broaden this pilot further with alternative hardware and peripherals to be given to drivers to better understand local conditions for high volume consecutive customer collections. Drivers will be trained using SOPs and quick reference guides for equipment and process. Locations include Vic, NSW, Qld and Tas.

7. ACTU welcomes resolution of the Labor leadership and acknowledges contribution of Julia Gillard

The ACTU has welcomed the resolution of the Labor leadership, congratulating Kevin Rudd on becoming leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party while also acknowledging and paying tribute to Julia Gillard, who as Prime Minister delivered much for working people.

Australians will remember Julia Gillard’s Prime Ministership for the key reforms it delivered, including a comprehensive paid parental leave scheme, equal pay for women working in our social and community sector, a national disability insurance scheme, a better retirement for working Australians through increased superannuation, safer roads for our truck drivers and the community, the protection of penalty rates, and historic action on climate change which protected jobs and invested in industries for the future.

Australia has had a very good government for the past 6 years, delivering excellent policies for working people.

On behalf of nearly 2 million union members, the ACTU has called on the whole labour movement to unify behind a campaign to ensure that Tony Abbott is not elected on his stated policies of bringing back individual contracts, changing the Fair Work Act in the interests of business, abolishing the increase to superannuation, and his lack of support for Australian jobs.

Kevin Rudd was right when he said that many Australians are fearful that the Abbott Opposition would attack their penalty rates and conditions at work.

Unions look forward to working together with the Labor Government to fight to protect Australian working families from a potential Liberal Government.

8. Labor gets last minute workplace legislation through parliament

The federal Labor government has succeeded in getting important legislation through the parliament prior to the end of what is expected to be its final sitting before the next election.

Although the new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has yet to announce the date of the federal election it is unlikely that parliament will resume before that occurs. So the passing of amendments to the Fair Work Act and legislation designed to tighten the use of 457 visas represents a last minute win for the labour movement.

Labor gets last minute workplace legislation through parliamentThe amendments to the Fair Work Act include clauses which:

  • enable employees who believe they have been bullied at work to apply to the FWC for an order to stop it, and requiring the tribunal to begin dealing with the matter within 14 days;
  • extend the right to request flexible working arrangements to a wider range of circumstances and setting out a "non-exhaustive list" of "reasonable business grounds" to refuse requests;
  • require "genuine consultation" with employees about changes to rosters or working hours;
  • increase concurrent unpaid parental leave from three weeks to eight weeks;
  • permit, when agreement can't be reached, the default use of workplace lunchrooms for union discussions with employees;

A number of these amendments came under threat when key independents Rob Oakshott and Tony Windsor said they would not support any changes that were not also supported by the Opposition.

In the end, however, Labor was able to secure sufficient support to get its legislation through Parliament with only minor changes.

Separate legislation to require labour market testing by employers wanting to use 457 visa workers has been passed unamended.

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