TECHNICAL AND SERVICES BRANCH WEEKLY BULLETIN 2023
30 Apr 2023
POST TECHNICAL RESTRUCTURE
Talks continued this week as we resolve issues. The general proposal is to implement the national agreement last year to set team leaders at SWLF and SPF at PTO7, with second in charge at PTO6. Post is also proposing one Technical Manager, one Eng Lead, and 2 x PTO7 Planners.
Three shifts are proposed at each site. This raises issues at SPF to be resolved.
Other issues not agreed as yet at the national level are the classifications of SME and the classifications at remote sites above PTO4. (eg PTO5)
Post is to brief staff.
INFLATION STILL HIGH - ACTU
Inflation has slowed to 7% for the year, after a rise in the March quarter of 1.4%, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Although inflation appears finally to have turned a corner from its December 2022 high of 7.8%, working people are still under intense cost-of-living pressures after 10 interest rate rises and sharply rising rents.
Inflation is still outpacing wages growth by at least 3.7% based on the ABS's latest wages data.
The fall in real wages workers are facing is exacerbated by cost of by essential items such as medical and hospital services (up 4.2%), gas and other household fuels (up 14.3%), and rents (up by 4.9%, the highest annual rise since 2010).
It is crucial that the Fair Work Commission focus on this fall in real wages when reviewing the minimum wage next month. Workers need relief through wages growth, starting with an increase to the minimum wage.
Acting on secure jobs, wage theft and ending exploitation of casual and labour-hire workers must also be a priority
PAY SECRECY ALMOST ABOLISHED - ACTU
Pay secrecy is when workers are banned from talking about how much they earn with their co-workers, or from asking others about their pay. It means that in workplaces where some workers are paid less than others for the same job, they often won't know about it - or if they do, they can't act without repercussions.
For contracts -it will stay in effect until your contract is varied, or you start a new one.
For Agreements - the pay secrecy clause is now void.
Pay secrecy can lead to serious inequality at work and is a big contribution to Australia's gender pay gap. But all that is changing, thanks to a suite of new laws won by union members!
What was the law before these changes? Previously, your boss could direct you to keep your wages secret. They would do this by adding a pay secrecy clause to your individual employment contract or the Enterprise Agreement.
What's new? These new rights empower workers to talk about their wages. That means you can't get into trouble for talking about your pay or asking your workmates about theirs.
New employment contracts and Enterprise Agreements made after 7 December 2022 are not allowed to contain pay secrecy clauses.
Pay close attention if your contract or Agreement was made before 7 December 2022 (and it had a pay secrecy clause):
Where to from here?
Pay transparency is powerful. These new laws are the final step in a long campaign by unions to ensure that all workers not only have the right to freely discuss wages, but are empowered to challenge pay discrimination and wage inequality in their workplaces. So speak up! Reach out to your co-workers so you can back yourselves when negotiating for pay rises and fair wages. Joining your union is the most effective way to ensure your workplace is a place where those conversations between workmates can occur.
The latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report into mesothelioma was released this week. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer in the mesothelium - the protective lining on the inside of body cavities and the outside of internal organs. The main cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, but it takes 20-40 years on average. Despite asbestos being banned in all forms nearly 20 years ago, cases continue to increase.
Australia has one of the highest measured incidence rates of mesothelioma in the world: between 700 and 800 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma per year.
On average, two people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in Australia each day.
The new report showed for the 1028 participants assessed as having possible or probable asbestos exposure:
78% of men provided information indicating occupational exposure.
99% of women provided information indicating non-occupational exposure.
As long as asbestos stays in buildings, the threat of mesothelioma remains.
Authorised by Dan Dwyer NSW Secretary, Sue Riley Vic Secretary
- CWU Telecommunications & Services Branches.