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News 3

Postal e-Bulletin 2013 - #1

  1. EBA8 Time to Deliver
  2. Is 2013 the tipping point for Australia Post’s unfair measuring obsession with retail work?
  3. Fair Work Act changes
  4. Several disputes in FWC Brisbane
  5. Brisbane disputes
  6. Pressure from union sees progress on the Transport Structure Review
  7. National Linehaul forum holds its first meeting
  8. Obsession with left hand turns in DRO explained!
  9. CWU disputes Address Post restructure
  10. The 4 pillars policy at Australia Post
  11. All parties must commit to preserving the weekend and tackling insecure work

1.EBA8 Time to Deliver

EBA8 Time to DeliverThe winning slogan for the EBA8 campaign is “EBA8 Time to Deliver”.  The slogan is a composite of suggestions by two members - Byron Boxall from Sorell in Tasmania and Peter Heenan from Victoria.  Both Byron and Peter will be receiving a $125 Coles/Myer Gift Card.

$50 Gift Cards will be forwarded to the best entries received in each of the other States.  The winners in the other States are:  Troy Moore (Queensland) and Shelia Refermat (South Australia).  Western Australia will be advised in the next e-bulletin.

Over 200 entries were received.  Thank you to all who took part.  We are gearing up for the EBA negotiations and the first meeting with Post is expected on the 1st March 2013.

2.Is 2013 the tipping point for Australia Post’s unfair measuring obsession with retail work?

For sometime now a revolt against Australia Post’s measuring system known as MODAPTS and ROM has been growing, with retail workers, Postal Managers and the union speaking out about the negative impact on workers and customer service of this obsession.

Although the union has been decrying the flawed logic behind the MODAPTS and ROM measuring for some time and most recently in the RSTA dispute over staffing models and flexibility, the reality is that Australia Post has resisted our complaints and this system for determining staffing has continued.

Last week however Fair Work Australia issued a Recommendation that may augur long overdue changes to the system for determining retail staffing.

In response to arguments put by the parties to resolve the dispute over staffing models and flexibility – the union sought a joint study of counter and back office times and greater involvement of Postal Managers and staff into the system to determine staffing, while AP pretty much sought status quo but agreed to incorporate elements of the CWU Workload Assessment Tool into the back office survey - Commissioner Roe issued a Recommended in which he stated:

I am not satisfied that the proposal of Australia Post adequately addresses the concerns raised by the CEPU about the adequacy of the methodology utilised to arrive at standard times for counter work functions.

I therefore recommend a joint study be undertaken in respect to time required for bill pay tasks. That study would observe and record the activities and times associated with individual bill pay transactions and compare these with the MODAPTS times.

The parties will review the back office survey form and the CEPU proposed Workload Assessment Tool and greater involvement of Postal Managers in the system for determining staffing requirements. (A full copy is available on the union’s website (web Address)

The study to be conducted in 2 Post Offices in Vic, is really a toe in the water to gather an evidence base from which a model for future staffing can be developed. This time around Australia Post may be unable to ignore the noise which begs the question: Has the tipping point been reached? Are we witnessing the early signs of a change in how we think about the best ways to measure work in Post Offices? 

3.Fair Work Act changes

Members should note that there have been some changes to the Fair Work Act commencing 1 January 2013. One change is the name of Fair Work – it is now the Fair Work Commission (FWC) instead of Fair Work Australia (FWA). Another is that an unfair dismissal must be lodged within 21 days – extended from 14 days. Adverse action claims must be lodged within 21 days, down from 60 days.

4.Several disputes in FWC Brisbane

We (Dan Dwyer, Martin O’Nea and Cameron Bird) have been in the Fair Work Commission in Brisbane seeking that Australia Post cease certain practices in Underwood and Mansfield. Several disputes exist. The Commission has made recommendations and these will be followed. In all cases, if no resolution is found after further discussions with Post, the matter will be relisted in the Commission for further hearing.

5.Brisbane disputes

First is the practice that members have been denied overtime if they took sick leave during the week. This is unlawful.  Australia Post has agreed to discuss a settlement with the Qld Branch and if it cannot be settled, it will come back before FWC for further hearing.

Second, in relation to an injured worker in Underwood, Post will review starting times and will not assign punitive duties to the injured worker (as they did when they directed him to polish wheel nets). Again, if not settled, it will come back before the FWC.

Third, two delivery officers at Mansfield were disciplined when they refused to do excessive overtime. This is not resolved and will be taken further.

Fourthly, in a related matter, our union delegate was disciplined (and transferred) for representing the two mail officers above. The matter will go through the Board of Reference and will then come back to FWC with the third matter. We will advise of progress.

Fifthly, an issue of harassment appears to be settled.

6.Pressure from union sees progress on the Transport Structure Review

A significant aspect of the Transport Structure Review (TSR) has been recently finalized between Post and the union.  This is after 6 years of delay.

The initial review team focused on the Hub management/support structure.  In the six year period Hubs grew in size and later Business Hub Operations was introduced.

There is a management/support structure now in place for Business Hubs and traditional Hubs.  This structure has been rolled out in NSW and Victoria.  Business Hubs in the other States will benefit by the guidelines as they are being introduced.

The grading will allow members to receive fair remuneration and support in the Business Hub (now Van Operations) and traditional Hub.

7.National Linehaul forum holds its first meeting

The first National Linehaul Forum between Post and the union met on Tuesday 5 February.  Linehaul drivers/reps from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland were at the meeting.  The South Australian Linehaul driver/rep is due to attend the next meeting.

The forum is an extension of the National Transport Forum that meets monthly.  As Linehaul drivers have their own unique issues it was agreed to have a separate forum. This will meet one week prior to the Transport forum.

Issues discussed were the use of contractors, roo bars, use of re-treads, fatigue management systems and the Post Utilization Committee which is looking at how product is being moved between places and States.

Members will be updated on future discussions.  If Linehaul members have a national issue they would like to be raised at the meeting they can contact their local rep or email their State Branch or the Divisional Office.

8.Obsession with left hand turns in DRO explained!

When Australia Post introduced the DRO (Delivery Round Optimizer) four years ago delivery managers were advised DRO would reduce outdoor times by 4%.  This did not occur and there were several disputes once DRO was used on a round.  It was impossible to meet the time provided.

One of the main aspects of DRO (Aus left hand drive version) was to have mainly left hand turns.  WHY? The bright spark Post manager who bought the system from the US probably didn’t realize that in the US (right hand drive) drivers can turn right on a red light.  This is why DRO (US version) routes courier drivers to the right.  If you turn left on a red light here you can expect to get a ticket.

Below is an excerpt from Postal News Update:

The Postal Service’s private sector rivals have been using dynamic routing systems for years to improve delivery planning and cut down on costs. Most famously, perhaps, UPS has used computer modelling to shape its delivery system since 2004 to avoid left-hand turns where possible, because in many US states drivers can turn right on a red light, avoiding idling time.  

The kind of product features that USPS is looking for includes the ability to plan for time penalties for road turns, along with many other aspects of developing the most efficient delivery routes dynamically, adjusting to issues including customised delivery deadlines for certain items, speed limits and traffic reporting.

It would have to be suitable for use by local site personnel to manage and provide instructions for delivery staff.

Sound familiar to what you were told about DRO?

9.CWU disputes Address Post restructure

The union has disputed proposed changes in the proposed Address Post restructure. The restructure changes Address Post to a national structure rather than State based.

The union has organized further discussions with Post regarding the restructure due to concerns over job security.

The union has advised Post that no changes are to occur until these discussions have taken place.  Please contact your State Branch with regard to this matter.

10.The 4 pillars policy at Australia Post

The Australia Post 4 cultural pillars policy is chanted with almost cult status by some managers, carried shoulder high with claims of safety first, accountability for actions and delivering timely outcomes.   But the reality is that the pillar policy is not how things are done at Australia Post and where implemented at all it is used at the expense of postal workers.   For instance, while Australia Post safety programs have focused on supposed unsafe behaviour of workers there has been a woeful neglect of the safety issues which really matter to the future of postal workers:  OHS Agreement, election of HSRs, training for HSRs, an organisation wide risk control plan that sets out how risks will be eliminated or controlled.  These are the issues that need to be worked on under the safety pillar.  Regrettably all these issues are constantly delayed and deliberately blocked by those managers who have a vested interest maintaining the status quo.

Despite Australia Post’s denials and arrogant attempts to keep things as they are the world has changed -

  • Workers in a work group may now decide how many HSRs they need to represent them and, whilst this should be agreed with management the assistance of the regulator Comcare will be sought to deal with Australia Post’s deliberate obstruction of same.
  • Workers in a work group now decide how the election for HSRs will be conducted which includes the assistance of the union.
  • HSRs have the right to choose which HSR course they will attend, including union conducted HSR courses that are accredited by Comcare.

HSRs are reminded that the WHS Act transitional provisions no longer apply from 1st January 2013.  This means that for HSRs to be able to issues a cease work direction or a PIN under the WHS Act a HSR must have successfully completed training under the WHS Act. Therefore HSRs are encouraged to contact their Union Branch to discuss training.

11.All parties must commit to preserving the weekend and tackling insecure work

The ACTU has called on all parties to ensure that they make secure jobs an election issue and to enshrine penalty rates in law to preserve the weekend for Australian workers.

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver has called for an “entitlement portability” scheme to ensure workers in insecure work have access to sick leave and annual leave.

40 per cent of Australians are in insecure work of some kind and many are not able to access sick leave, carers leave or annual leave. These workers are often low-paid and need these entitlements to cope with family emergencies.

Mr Oliver said that the union movement would campaign for a system of portable entitlements to ensure that workers in insecure work were able to benefit from sick leave and annual leave. “In many parts of the construction industry, entitlements travel with workers from job to job, and there is no reason why this cannot be extended to other sectors.”

Mr Oliver said that all political parties needed to commit to enshrining penalty rates in law to ensure that workers required to work week-ends were adequately compensated.

“Week-end work is often necessary, but there should be recognition that weekend workers sacrifice time with friends and family, and penalty rates provide that.”

“That’s why we’ll be asking the government to enshrine penalty rates for weekends and public holidays in legislation, and protect them forever.”

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