CWU T&S WEEKLY BULLETIN NO 2021 /
10 Jan 2021
POST SPF SHIFT SWAPS
The Australia Post Enterprise Agreement 2017 (EBA) provides for shift swaps as follows:
19.5.1 Exchange of Shifts - An employee is allowed to exchange duties or shifts or days off, or to perform duty for another employee, with the approval of the manager.
Post still refuses shift swaps. WE notified the Fair Work Commission that a dispute exists. Post wants to delay the hearing of the matter of course. The FWC has listed the matter for a conference on 4 Feb 2021.
Meanwhile, continue to seek shift swaps if you wish to swap.
TELSTRA PURPLE EBA
The Purple EBA is now up for certification. It is not an EBA endorsed by this Union. It has a 38 hour week and only 12 weeks redundancy. The EBA is basically a collection of the provisions of the Industry Award and the National Employment Standards. The only additional benefit seems to be the "Telstra Purple Day". There is debate within our larger union whether we should challenge the basis of the underlying Award. Unfortunately there is little support from out postal masters.
OPTUS PREFILLED LEAVE
Optus has responded to our last letter (see below) but does not address our central point - Optus must not "automatically load" (prefill) your application for annual leave. Annual leave is your right and should be taken at times you seek. To our knowledge, Optus has no right to direct you onto leave. We asked Optus and they did not point to any law giving them that right. Please let us know (in confidence) your experiences.
OPTUS PREFILLED LEAVE - OPTUS RESPONSE
Thanks for your email regarding annual leave at Optus.
We feel that we have clearly explained to you the reasons for our decision to allow employees to have a summer break. As we have explained, Optus is having a summer break from 24 December 2020 returning on Monday 11 January 2020 for majority of roles. This means that most of our people (except for those with exceptional circumstances, approved alternate arrangements or those in client facing roles) will be on annual leave. This will allow employees to have a genuine break from work. As you know, we are also encouraging employees to take more leave around this period.
The reason is to ensure employees have a break from work after what has been a difficult year for many people both from a work and personal perspective, given the COVID-19 pandemic and other events that have occurred during the course of 2020. Having a break over a traditionally quiet business period where a number of public holidays fall is beneficial for employees' wellbeing, as the flow of work will slow down and allow employees to properly disconnect from work. It is also beneficial as employees will be able to have a substantive consecutive break from work while not using a significant amount of leave, given the public holidays.
The wellbeing of our people and the promotion of work life balance are paramount Optus values and priorities. With that in mind, we stand by our decision to ensure our people have the opportunity to have a genuine break from work and refresh before returning to work in 2021.
On that basis, we respectfully disagree with your concerns. We will not take actions, including providing any communications to our employees, that may suggest we encourage employees to work through the Christmas break.
We are happy to consider any individual employee's circumstances that may prevent them from being able to take leave during this period, for example, an employee may wish to take a portion of their annual leave at a later period for a specific reason, such as a planned holiday. We are happy to discuss any concerns that an employee may have in this regard. We are also happy for you to communicate with your members that they are able to raise any issues that they have with Optus' summer break with their Leader in the first instance, and an HR representative, and we will give proper consideration to their concerns.
We appreciate your concerns and we are happy to discuss this further with you. However, we are not sure whether we can add anything further, as we seem to have provided the same messaging on a number of occasions to you.
STOOD DOWN WORKERS DENIED SICK LEAVE
Unions seek High Court appeal for Qantas worker entitlements: Qantas workers were stood down in March as COVID-19 devastated the airline industry but were denied their sick, carers and compassionate leave - despite still being able to access annual leave, long service and JobKeeper payments. Seriously ill workers had their sick leave stopped in the middle of critical treatments and operations and some have since had to take redundancy from Qantas just to pay their bills. One such worker is Peter Seymour who has been battling cancer since a diagnosis last year:
"I love my job but that was a huge smack in the face. I've worked for 31 years and had all that sick leave accrued but I was treated just like a number. I could not stay on Jobkeeper because I've got bills to pay so I was forced to take redundancy from the company. I've just turned 64 and I still have to work, I now have to find a job."
The case is being taken after a dissenting judge in the Federal Court judgment, stated workers in Australia could be denied protections and entitlements because of the decision, and warned about "far-ranging effects. across all manner of leave entitlements".
ACTU: "Seriously ill Qantas workers have been left devastated after the company refused to allow them to use the sick leave they've built up over many years.
WOMEN OF STEEL - NOWRA SCREENING 28 JAN
Wollongong, 1980: Denied jobs at the steelworks - the city's main employer - working class / migrant women refused to accept discrimination. They began a campaign for the right to work that lasted for fourteen years. Their battle against BHP, the country's richest and most powerful company, took them from factory gate to the highest court in the land and changed the rules for women throughout Australia.
Link to site
Authorised by Dan Dwyer Branch Secretary
CWU Telecommunications & Services Branch, Sydney City, NSW.