Number 20 13 June 2022
OUR BULLETIN NOV 2021 - AUS POST PAY RISE AMENDMENT
The 3% CPI caused concern in Post where the annual increases are just that - 3%. We have now secured an undertaking from Post. Post has agreed that any future pay rises will not be less that the CPI on the preceding year. In other words, if the annual CPI rises by 3.2%, they your pay increase will also be 3.2%, not 3% as in the EBA.
POST 5.1% PAY RISE? - THE ACCIDENTAL BONUS
Last year our union was happy to accept a 2.5% pay rise in Post. (The same as Telstra) - until the TWU fought and won 3% in Startrack. Post had to accept 3% and the Post EBA guarantees a 3% pay rise in September this year.
However after the EBA was finalised, Post agreed that in the "unlikely" event that the CPI would rise above 3%, then Post would increase wages by the CPI.
The "unlikely" happened. The CPI is 5.1% and the next quarterly increase is "unlikely" to be lower!
So, will we get a 5.1% pay rise in September?
Or higher, as the June quarter CPI will be out by late June?
The agreement, made after the EBA was finalised, said we would. Watch this space.
ACTU ON WAGES
Have you heard the one about how business can't afford to give a pay rise? Or the one about how workers will get a wage increase if they can just hang on until things improve?
How about that old chestnut that if workers get a pay increase the economy will fall apart, inflation will go through the roof, and we'll all be ruined?
These are the classic hits that big business and their highly paid lobbyists roll out every time the issues of wages are on the agenda. As the Fair Work Commission gets set to make its latest ruling on a wage increase for Australia's lowest paid workers, the usual suspects are singing those same old, tired tunes.
The truth is, business has never had it so good and has never been more profitable. That's according to the latest research conducted the independent think tank, The Australia Institute.
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus has called on the Fair Work Commission to reset the scales when it comes to profits and wages.
Our country needs to face up to this enormous challenge. Working people must not have their living standards go backwards.
"Action must be taken to ensure the over 13 million working people of our country are sharing our nations prosperity. At the moment they are not, and this cannot continue"
POST SPF WORKING GROUP
We will be raising several matters at the working group meeting this week. WE have already asked about the process to rank staff for higher duties. We are also seeking training information so that we can press for more formal training for staff. There is always an OHS issue, but we always need to seek it out. If you are aware of an OHS issue, we need to know. If you have any other matter that should also be raised, please let me know asap.
ASBESTOS IS STILL A KILLER
The following report is from our Vice President Lee Walkington.
In spite of big advances in medical science over the last few years there is no known cure for mesothelioma, a painful and deadly cancer of the lining of the lungs and other organs. An estimated 700 Australians die each year of the disease whose only known cause is exposure to asbestos in its various forms.
Twice as many die from other asbestos induced disease, principally cancer of the lungs and stomach and heart disease aggravated by exposure to the fibres of this deadly material. This was the message coming out of the 3 day Asbestos Safety and Management Conference held in May.
Almost 400 participants from across Australia representing unions, Councils, victim support groups, health professionals and a small international delegations. They shared their experiences and information on best practice and the current situation in their regions. The conference was moderated by radio personality, James O'Loghlin, who movingly spoke of his recent experience of campaigning for compensation for a friend in Canberra who had been exposed to the Mr Fluffy asbestos insulation material at a young age and who tragically died this year from an Asbestos Related Disease.
The important message from the conference was clear, despite recent advances in the science of identification of asbestos fibre and AI modelling of the built environment to identify the probable existence of asbestos product in building materials, this has not been matched by advances in the medical field and there is still no cure. Mesothelioma is a death sentence with death usually occurring within 2 years of detection.
While other environmental hazards have rightfully been highlighted in recent times; the wave of deaths attributed to silica from the cutting and polishing of kitchen bench tops, exposure to fire retardant foam near airports, the use of glass wool in housing insulation etc, the number of deaths from prior exposure to asbestos continues to rise and is not expected to peak until 2025 at the earliest. Most of the current so called third wave of deaths is due to exposure in the home as the result of DIY renovations. However in our industry in particular there will be many who have likely been exposed unknowingly through their day to day work. The gap between exposure to asbestos and illness is known to be years and in some cases decades.
ASBESTOS AND YOU
In the Communications industry work environment, every telephone exchange, radio or mobile tower site, every customer premises and line yard depot had its fair share of asbestos in these environments. Cable risers, fire stop material, lino floor tiles, switchboards, generator exhaust pipes, ceiling tiles and of course asbestos fibre pit and pipe products were very common. Despite the ban coming into existence in 1990 on the use of new asbestos product and the rise of the removal industry following this ban not all this material has been removed or sites remediated before workers were aware of its presence.
There is now an urgent need for the Communication Workers Union to campaign to raise awareness of our members and former members of their likely past exposure to asbestos in their daily work spaces and the real risk posed by contact with unidentified asbestos containing materials (ACM) in the wider public environment.
We are proposing we start up a new campaign around the asbestos issue with the following objectives:
1. We promote an awareness campaign to members past, present and future highlighting the prevalence of ACM in our work and home environments and the continuing health risks this presents to themselves and to those around them
2. That in conjunction with our preferred asbestos litigation lawyers, we develop a questionnaire form that asks all current and former members to briefly outline their present and past work history in the Comms industry. This to be done in co-operation with our former members in the Retired Communications Employees Association. (formally the RMA)
3. Taylor Scott Lawyers and the CWU to jointly hold a copy of this form and in the unfortunate situation that any member is seeking compensation for a work related ARD the groundwork has already been done in identifying the probable cause thus making compensation easier to achieve in the difficult circumstance of the member's illness.
We will follow up with more reports and the questionnaire.
Authorised by Dan Dwyer NSW Secretary, Sue Riley Vic Secretary - CWU Telecommunications & Services Branches.