TECHNICAL AND SERVICES BRANCH WEEKLY BULLETIN 2023
6 August 2023
AUS PUBLIC SERVICE - EBA NEGOTIATIONS STALLED
Bargaining for a new EBA for the Cth Public Service has stalled. The last offer from the APS was for a 3 year EBA with the following increases:
Year 1 4.0%
Year 2 3.5%
Year 3 3.0%
IS IT REALLY WORTH JOINING THE UNION?
[Note this is from the Sydney Morning Herald as reported on MSN] Story by Jonathan Rivett
Question: Our workplace is going through a protracted enterprise bargaining process. I'm increasingly concerned about the proposals I can see our employer is making. Should I join the union?
Answer: I asked Associate Professor Stephen Clibborn, the co-director of the Sydney Employment Relations Research Group at the University of Sydney, to offer his expertise on your question. His response was so thorough, thoughtful and (I think) helpful, I'm passing it on in full:
"In general, union-negotiated collective agreements deliver higher pay and conditions for employees. With the exception of those with rare and in-demand skills, an individual employee is less able to negotiate successfully with employers due to their relative power imbalance. The higher the proportion of employees in a given workplace who are union members, the more power they have and the more effectively they can negotiate to improve pay and conditions.
"Union members pay membership fees to be in the union and make sacrifices, such as forgoing pay while participating in strikes, to advance bargaining in ways that influence employers to agree to more favourable terms of employment.
"However, the higher pay and conditions in a collective agreement benefit both union members and non-union employees also covered by the agreement. So some employees might ask, `Why pay the union dues and sacrifice pay during industrial action if I'm going to get the same result?' Such an approach might seem logical but it is a narrow, short-term and risky approach.
"The problem with this approach is that the same result is not guaranteed if too many employees sit back and let their colleagues do the work of bargaining for them. The smaller the group of workers negotiating with management, the smaller their power relative to the employer.
"Union density in Australia is dropping and now only 12.5 per cent. [It was well above 50 per cent less than 50 years ago.] It's less in the private sector and much less in some industries. So it really does require people to join unions for enterprise bargaining to achieve the gains - and to resist some management proposals that the reader might be concerned about.
"This so-called `free rider' problem has led some to call for a change in the law to allow unions to charge a bargaining fee to non-members who benefit from collective agreements negotiated by the union. However, the IR minister, Tony Burke, has indicated this is not on the government's policy agenda."
Should you join the union? If you want to contribute to a stronger employee bargaining position and show solidarity with colleagues, that may be a very good idea. If you're concerned about what your employer is proposing as part of the enterprise bargaining process, you should definitely join.
OPTUS SHIFT - CONTROLLERS
We sought discussions with Optus re the alleged underpayments. Optus saw no priority in this matter and responded as follows:
We understand from your email, that the issues being raised are matters arising under the Employment Partnership Agreement. In accordance with the EPA, issues of concern should in the first instance be discussed with an employee's immediate supervisor or manager. This is set out in Appendix B of the EPA as part of the Issue Prevention and Resolution procedure (Procedure).
The Procedure is intended to create an environment of cooperation, mutual respect and open communication directly between management and employees.
We note that employees may seek assistance from a representative at any of the stages set out in the procedure and recognise your role in representing relevant employees/members as part of the process.
To ensure that these matters are raised in accordance with the Procedure, we'd ask that your members raise this directly with the relevant manager / supervisors.
If this has already occurred, please provide the relevant details (including who has been involved and the respective positions said to be unresolved) in order to advance to the appropriate stage of the Procedure and ensure the right people are involved.
OPTUS SHIFT - RESPONSE
We responded to Optus pointing out our approach.
Thank you for your response. We are not raising it under the DR Procedure. The FWC has no jurisdiction.
We intend to file the matter in the Court seeking payment, back payment (for 6 years), interest and penalties.
Late news: Optus is now seeking to meet,
TRAVELLING ALLOWANCE TELSTRA
Following consultation with Telstra, travel related payments will increase and become effective as of 1 August 2023.
Some extracts below. The key changes are:
A 6.8% increase to the meals and incidentals components; and
A substantial $51 per night increase to country centres accommodation rate, going from $120 per night to $171 per night, in addition to significant increases in the capital city accommodation rates.
Existing pre 1 August 2023:
Location Accommodation Bfast Lunch Dinner Incids Total
Adelaide 150.00 25.00 27.00 47.00 18.00 267.00
Brisbane 150.00 25.00 27.00 47.00 18.00 267.00
Canberra 185.00 25.00 27.00 47.00 18.00 302.00
Darwin 176.00 26.00 30.00 50.00 19.00 301.00
Hobart 140.00 25.00 30.00 50.00 18.00 263.00
Melbourne 170.00 25.00 27.00 47.00 18.00 287.00
Perth 150.00 23.00 25.00 43.00 18.00 259.00
Sydney 190.00 25.00 28.00 47.00 18.00 308.00
Country Centres 120.00 25.00 28.00 47.00 19.00 239.00
Camping Rate 93.00 20.00 21.00 36.00 16.00 186.00
Night rate of frequent absence allowance 26.00
Effective 1 August 2023:
Location Accommodation Bfast Lunch Dinner Incids Total
Adelaide 171.00 26.70 28.84 50.20 19.22 295.96
Brisbane 171.00 26.70 28.84 50.20 19.22 295.96
Canberra 191.00 26.70 28.84 50.20 19.22 315.96
Darwin 200.00 27.77 32.04 53.40 20.29 333.50
Hobart 171.00 29.70 32.04 53.40 19.22 302.36
Melbourne 191.00 26.70 28.84 50.20 19.22 315.96
Perth 171.00 24.56 26.70 45.92 19.22 287.41
Sydney 190.00 26.70 29.90 50.20 19.22 316.02
Country Centres 171.00 26.70 29.90 50.20 20.29 298.09
Camping Rate 93.00 21.36 22.43 38.45 17.09 192.32
Night rate of frequent absence allowance 28.00
STRONG PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR WORKPLACE CHANGES - ACTU
The ACTU has released polling by Essential Research showing very strong support for the Federal Government to act on wages, wage theft and closing loopholes to stop labour hire being used to drive down wages and conditions. In a warning to the business lobby the polling has also found that the majority of Australians think big business have too much power.
70% agree Government should act to protect workers from wage theft
65% agree Government should act to increase the minimum wage
60% agree Government should act to increase wages for workers in general
56% agree Government should close labour hire loopholes.
The research was conducted in marginal seats in Queensland and Western Australia from 27th June to 3rd July, and found strong support for Government to act to help workers:
The research also found that Australians would be more likely to vote for the Labor Government if they move on workplace legislation:
58% say they are more likely to vote for Labor if they increase the minimum wage
58% more likely on protecting workers from wage theft
57% on increasing wages in general
47% on closing labor hire loopholes
44% on changing workplace laws to enable unions to negotiate higher wages
On issues of trust, unions are clearly more favourable that big business. Twice as many people believe big business has too much power compared to unions with a massive 59% saying big business had too much power, while 30% said unions had too much power.
ACTU President Michele O'Neil "This research shows that the big money spent by the business lobby across TV, Radio and Print trying to discredit Government plans to improve workers job security and wages is failing and a waste.
Authorised by Dan Dwyer Secretary
- CWU Telecommunications & Services Branches.