16 FEB 2020

The Morrison government's industrial relations minister, Christian Porter, confirmed that he would seek to legislate away personal leave entitlements for shift workers and job security for permanent workers if the High Court finds against the Government. In 2019 the owners of Cadbury, multi-national food conglomerate Mondelez, took a case against two 12- hour shift workers to cut their personal leave entitlements from ten 10- hour days to ten 7.6-hour days. Effectively, workers will be out of pocket every time they take a sick day.
In a separate matter, a big labour-hire company WorkPac is trying to claim someone who had been working regular shifts for years was not a permanent worker but a casual. WorkPac is doing this with the full support of Christian Porter and the Morrison government.
In both cases the Morrison Government has indicated if the workers win, they will legislate to over-ride these court decisions. This would have far-reaching implications for many shift workers who would have their sick leave cut and for all permanently employed workers where employers would be legally permitted to deem them as casuals with the rights of casual workers, regardless of whether the job is permanent and on-going.
A decision to intervene and change the law in response to decisions such as this is the opposite response taken by the Government when workers had their penalty rates cut.

The Morrison government has decided to jeopardise the retirement plans of tens of thousands of working Australians after it voted down a Labor Party motion to reaffirm their commitment to the legislated timetable for a rise in the Superannuation Guarantee to 12% by 2025. ACTU's Scott Connolly said the government was playing politics with the retirement plans of millions of workers. The failure of Scott Morrison and his government to lock in behind the legislated commitment to the rise in the Superannuation guarantee shows that when it comes to protecting the retirement savings of working Australians, they just walk away. The rise in the Superannuation Guarantee paid by employers currently sits at 9.5%. Labor introduced legislation in 2012 aiming to increase it to 12% by 2019. Tony Abbott's government applied a freeze to any increase to the Super Guarantee in 2014 and successive coalition governments have baulked at implementing their own legislated timetable to build toward a 12% contribution by 2025.

Members may have seen a news item that CEPU has been fined $445,000 for historic reporting breaches. The ROC sued our union when a number of our branches failed to report changes in officials within the statutory time frame. The Federal Court described our organisation as an operation with a dysfunctional national structure. There were some 82 breaches. Significant changes have now been implemented in the union nationally to ensure that CEPU complies with the legislation. Our Branch CWU T&S NSW was not one of the branches that breached the legislation.

Since last week, we sought clarification of two points and the final position paper is below. We are now participating in a review of the staffing levels at SGF.

    The following represents the agreement between Post and the CWU/CEPU.
  • Implementation of the SPF Technical rosters will occur on 17 Feb 2020.
  • There will be three operational/maintenance teams that will rotate between 5am, 1pm and 9pm.
  • Each team will have one TL and seven PTO4s which includes one mechanical technician.
  • These shifts will rotate on the basis of 4 weeks for day shifts and 2 x 2 weeks for other shifts.
  • There will be a fixed maintenance shift that will commence at 5am
  • The Maintenance Team will have a TL and seven PTO4s which includes three mechanical technicians.
  • An EOI will be distributed to all PTO4s at SPF to enable staff interested in the fixed morning maintenance shift to express an interest in that shift.
  • The selection process for the Maintenance team will be qualifications for roles required ie. electrical and mechanical technicians followed by seniority.
  • Sunday shifts will be overtime shifts.
  • SPF Sunday Shifts will be as follows, for the first 3 months;

    • Morning shift 7:00am - 3:10pm 5 x PTO4 and a TL
    • Afternoon shift 3:00pm - 11:10pm 5 x PTO4 and a TL

  • SPF Sunday Shifts will be as follows, after the first 3 months;

    • Morning shift 7:00am - 3:10pm 4 x PTO4 and a TL
    • Afternoon shift 3:00pm - 11:10pm 4 x PTO4 and a TL

  • SPF overtime is to be offered equally to provide equal access on Sunday.
  • SPF Saturday overtime to be offered based on operational requirements and staffing will be sourced from SPF technicians
  • SGF will continue to be maintained wholly from SPF, including when needing support with 1 person operations
  • SGF Overtime on Sunday will continue with 2xPTO4 on day, evening and night shifts until 1 July 2020.
  • SGF Maintenance overtime offers on Saturday will be based on operational requirements
  • SGF staffing will be included in the SPF rosters and will include 1 x PTO4 on the Monday to Friday shifts subject to confirmation that there are no safety issues with this arrangement.
  • The CWU will seek at a national level a joint review of classifications, particularly having regard to the number of staff having equivalent qualifications to the formal qualifications.
  • Each rostered shift will have a 30-minute paid meal break.
  • The shift swap process will be as follows;

      Requests within team
    • Organised amongst team members and team leader to be advised.
      Requests for Short Term swaps outside team (up to and including one week)
    • Any such request should be at least 1 week in advance where practicable.
    • Employees must make the request by email to their Technical Manager.
    • It is expected that such leave requests will be approved unless there are any substantial operational reasons.
      Requests for Longer Term swaps
    • Request to be in writing on a Workplace Flexibility form to the Technical Manager.
    • Requests should be at least 2 weeks in advance.
    • Where a request is not approved the employee will be advised in writing including the reasons.
    • Where a request is refused there will be an ability to escalate to the Facility Operations Manager, the employee can be represented by the union with these discussions.
    • There will be a review of the swaps process after 3 months.

We have seen the following email indicating another shutdown this Xmas. Clearly if you do not have any leave, you cannot be directed to take leave. We will be seeking discussions with Telstra.

    Our recent summer shutdown was a good opportunity to take some time away from the office. Almost 90 per cent of us took some leave over the period, and more than 20 per cent made the most of the shutdown by taking at least three weeks leave - thereby getting an extra day of paid leave. This meant most people, outside of those in our customer-facing and business critical roles, took a well-deserved break in a quiet period after a busy year. The average leave taken by people also increased from 5 days to 7 days compared to previous years. This made a big difference to our annual leave liability, which is also good for our business.
    We've now decided the summer shutdown will be an annual occurrence. This will apply to the majority of our people in Australia - excluding those of you in customer-facing and business critical roles maintaining essential customer services.
    We'll update you later this year on the shutdown dates, but you can expect it to be for a similar period of time. Please take this into account when planning your annual and long service leave this year.
    Those based in Australia will continue to be able to purchase additional leave from September should you need it (and if you qualify under the terms of our new EA and policy).
    Taking a good break and managing leave balances: Managing our annual leave balance means you not only benefit from a break, it's also one way we can reduce costs - something we need to continue to be vigilant about. We'll continue to monitor leave balances throughout the year, and we'll be requiring those of you who've accrued 6 or more weeks' annual leave to reduce this. So I would encourage you to be mindful about how much leave you've accrued and how you can reduce this throughout the year. Easter, for example, is another good opportunity to take some additional time off and we encourage you to consider doing so over this period.
    Remember, we've also extended the time available to get an extra day of paid leave. This means our Australian-based customer-facing and business critical teams can take advantage of the offer after working so hard for our customers during an unprecedented bushfire season. Those looking to take three weeks or more of consecutive leave up until 30 April will also benefit from a bonus day of paid leave.

Our Victorian Branch has approached Telstra again re the change in classifications. We will press for a meeting to resolve this matter. Their email stated:

    I have been getting a number of reports from Telstra workstream members regarding the appearance on the latest version of the payroll system of changes to their job codes, in some cases, defining their job codes as being different levels to what they currently are. It also follows reports of some staff being allegedly "downgraded" from their current roles. Can you confirm if this has actually happened, what, if any, are the effects of this, and what, if anything, is being done to rectify these changes.

Please note the following changes as we simplify our phone numbers
0428 942 878 dan.dwyer@cwunion.net Dan Dwyer Secretary/Lawyer - for industrial matters & advice
0447 365 443 reception@cwunion.net Administrative eg payments, applications, change of details

Authorised by Dan Dwyer Branch Secretary
CWU Telecommunications & Services Branch, Sydney City, NSW.



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