Members at Essential Energy will be able to progress through their Salary Bands easier when the new Enterprise Agreement is finalised with Management reaching agreement with the unions on a new Experienced Based Model which will be included into the new agreement.

The USU had previously been inundated with member concerns, who were frustrated around a lack of ability to progress under the old model which was regulated by the Australian Qualifications Framework. 

The Framework meant that members must obtain the qualification for the role to be able to progress through the salary band.  The problem was that for many members the qualification required a significant amount of out of hours study and in many cases, the required qualification did not match the role the employee was undertaking.

In nearly all cases, the member was doing the work to the satisfaction of their manager and in many cases exceeded expectations but could not progress because of this barrier.  Many members had been in their roles for 10 years or more.

The USU tabled a review into the AQF Progression in the 2021 Enterprise Agreement negotiations and to our surprise found that Management tabled a proposed review as well. 

What was agreed was that the unions and management come together to review the model under a leave reserve clause in the Enterprise Agreement which allowed this to occur during the life of the Enterprise Agreement and for the past 9 months, the unions and management have come together and nutted out a result that satisfies all parties. 

All 511 Position descriptions across the organization have been reviewed and nearly three quarters of these positions have been deemed eligible to progress under an experienced based model.  A large proportion of these positions are held by USU members.

Members would have to wait a qualifying period in the role before they could progress.  This is so employees who have undertaken the qualifications cannot be disadvantaged.  From there, they will then be able to progress annually based on satisfactory performance.  All members who meet the qualifying period from the commencement of the Enterprise Agreement will be able to progress one level and then be able to progress annually from there.

This achievement is a long time coming but our job is not done yet as there are still outstanding issues to tackle, and the parties have already agreed that we will continue to look into the rest of the outstanding issues under a new leave reserve for the new Enterprise Agreement.

What this shows is that our job is never completed once an Enterprise Agreement is negotiated and implemented.  We will always look out for our members best interests and how we can assist the best way possible for them even when that’s outside of Enterprise Agreement negotiations.  That’s unionism!

We hope now with what has been achieved, that our members can finally get the financial recognition for the amazing job they do at Essential Energy.

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