Yesterday the combined unions negotiating committee met with Ausgrid management. Ausgrid tabled their proposal for the new enterprise agreement. As we expected, management wants mass forced redundancies, unlimited contracting out and a below-inflation wage outcome.
Ausgrid’s proposal is a gross insult. Here are the five key attacks on employees:
- Unlimited forced redundancies: Ausgrid would implement unlimited forced redundancies from June 2020 with a package inferior to the current VR package.
- Unlimited contracting out: No change to the current contracting out clause means Ausgrid can outsource your work to the lowest bidder.
- Changed dispute settlements: Ausgrid could implement change without having to put things on hold until a dispute is resolved with employees and their unions.
- Watered down consultation provisions: Ausgrid can just tick boxes and quickly change things without genuine consultation with employees and their unions.
- A below-inflation conditional wage rise with no back pay: 5% in year 1 and 2% in years 2, 3 & 4 but only if you accept their proposal for a Career, Capability and Remuneration (CCR) framework for which we haven’t even seen translation grades or pay points. In its current form, the CCR would see people progress to higher grades only if their manager likes them.
In addition to these major attacks Ausgrid wants to:
- Reduce your capacity to take Annual and Long Service Leave at half pay
- Switch you to a fortnightly pay cycle
- Reduce the number of occasions you can take sick leave without a certificate from seven down to four
- Direct when you can take your RDOs.
We welcome Ausgrid’s acceptance of the combined unions’ proposals for:
- An incentive payment for redeployees of $75K (unions suggested $180K)
- Improvements to parental leave, and
- Lactation breaks for mothers.
Ausgrid are yet to understand that negotiations are a two-way process of give and take. Our members have given enough:
- A 4-year wage freeze — Mr. Gross, the Ausgrid Board and their superannuation fund owners IFM and Australian Super would never accept such a freeze on their own remuneration.
- We have conceded that Ausgrid can have a forced redundancy mechanism after June 2020, but not an unlimited one. It must have a credible cap so that Ausgrid cannot implement mass sackings.
Ausgrid clearly wants to take a lot but are willing to give very little.
We will continue to negotiate with Ausgrid but we are a long way apart. The company’s proposal as it stands is unacceptable to employees. There will be another EBA meeting on Monday 9 October and then a full paid delegates meeting on Wednesday 11 October to determine our next steps which may very well include industrial action. We will keep you informed every step of the way.