TECHNICAL AND SERVICES BRANCH WEEKLY BULLETIN 2023
10 Apr 2023
We advise that the Communication Division and our T&S Branch elections are being held this year. The Australian Electoral Commission will conduct the ballot which opens 1 June 2023. The election notice and nomination form are on our website. See 2023 Elections
ESTA MENTORING ALLOWANCE
ESTA in Victoria manages the triple aero calls form Telstra. The mentoring allowance has not been paid to Trainers despite the wording of the EBA which states that all qualified mentors are to be paid the allowance when mentoring. We have been pursuing the matter for some time and early this year filed a claim in the Court seeking payment (back 6 years) , interest and penalties. Our claim has been delayed as another union recently lodged an identical claim and the Court joined the matters.
The hearing is set down for 3 days from 15 May.
OPTUS RETAIL BARGAINING: MEMBERS TO VOTE ON PROPOSED EA
Long overdue benefits secured:
Following years of Optus stonewalling their retail employees, members ran a successful campaign to drag the telco back to the bargaining table to negotiate a new Enterprise Agreement to replace the current EA, which expired in 2016.
So far, negotiations have delivered some outstanding wins for Optus CWU members, including an improved span of hours and associated penalty payments, a lift to the minimum wage rates payable under the EA, and a further wage increase, equal to no less than CPI, for the majority of Optus Retail consultants and specialist consultants, in July each year.
For those eligible members employed on the EA's base rate, this means a first-year wage increase of up to 8%.
Paid Parental Leave will also increase to 14 weeks for primary carers with superannuation to be paid against further unpaid parental leave for a period of up to 38 weeks. Importantly, negotiations have secured a top-up payment for injured workers receiving workers' compensation payments - ensuring there is no gap between their compensation payments and their actual pre-injury salary.
These outcomes are significant for Retail members, who have been treated as second-class at the telco for far too long. However, a number of matters of contention remain outstanding, which preclude the Union from being able to support the EA in its current form, including:
Optus refuses to guarantee a pay rise for all employees. Whilst the wage rises we have secured will assist the majority of members in meeting the ever-rising cost of living, they will only be applied to the minimum rates in the EA and therefore only protect employees from falling below the minimum. For those paid even just $1 higher, yearly wage outcomes will be paid entirely at management's discretion, under an undocumented performance review that lacks transparency and oversight;
The wage increase will take up to six weeks after the EA's approval to become effective;
Higher duties can be demanded of you in many instances without any appropriate additional payments; and
Permanent part-time employees can be required to work additional hours at ordinary rates, without a paid meal allowance.
OPTUS BALLOT - VOTE NO
Despite these matters remaining unresolved, Optus intends to ask employees to vote on the proposed EA in its current form in a ballot which will run from 17 April to 26 April.
It was a hard fought-road for members to drag Optus this far into the process. We believe there isn't much left to tidy up to make this Agreement one which Optus Retail CWU members truly deserve. Should employees vote no and reject the Agreement, the Union is committed to continue its bargaining campaign in pursuit of a resolution to these outstanding fundamental matters.
But we can't do it without you. To deliver the outcomes you truly deserve, we need to build our density and strength in Optus Retail. For those employees who have not yet joined the CWU, now is the time to join.
NATIONAL WAGE CASE
The FWC determines the overall minimum wage, and the minimum rates in Awards. The NWC for 2023 is now under way.
In their submissions to the FWC's annual wage review, employer groups are again arguing that 2.6 million minimum-wage and award-wage workers should suffer big real-wage cuts.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, along with the Master Grocers of Australia and Australian Business Industrial have called for a 3.5% increase - or a $1500-a-year real pay cut for a full-time worker on the minimum wage based on the current rate of inflation.
Inflation was 7.4% for the year to December 2022 on the ABS's quarterly measure of the consumer price index. It is 6.8% for the year to February 2023 on its newer monthly indicator.
The ACTU has made a claim of 7% - an increase of about $57 a week, or $3000 a year, for a full-time worker on the minimum wage. This would meet the current cost of living.
NWC - SOME ANALYSIS
Last year employer groups attacked the Fair Work Commission's decision to award a 5.2% rise for minimum wage workers and 4.6% for workers on awards. They said it would "put jobs at risk" and "fuel inflation". Despite both these claims proving wrong, they are recycling them this year.
While inflation rose throughout 2022, it was largely due to high corporate profits on top of supply chain problems. Contrary to employer claims at the time, the Reserve Bank recently said wage growth is "consistent with the inflation target".
ACTU - QUIET HIRING GROWING
If 2022 was the year of `quiet quitting', then 2023 is shaping up to be about `quiet hiring'.
Quiet quitting was the trend of workers taking a stance against expectations of going `above and beyond' at work and establishing a healthy work-life balance instead.
Quiet hiring is the opposite. It's when an employer notices that you're doing well and putting in extra unpaid effort in your job. So, they decide to give you even more work.
The great resignation apparently left some employers struggling to fill job vacancies. But rather than offer higher wages or improve workplace environments to attract employees, they're using quiet hiring to fill in the gaps: sneakily dumping current staff with more tasks and responsibilities.
If more work for the same pay sounds dodgy to you, that's because it is
Authorised by Dan Dwyer NSW Secretary, Sue Riley Vic Secretary
- CWU Telecommunications & Services Branches.