Following Auscript’s decision to offer redundancies in the last week of March there have been two Fair Work Commission Conferences held either side of a meeting between USU/ASU reps and management on Monday 30 March and Tuesday 31 March.
The attached Statement (download here) issued by Commissioner Yilmaz late on Wednesday 1 April reflects the outcome of the last Conference before her.
Over several hours the USU/ASU pushed Auscript to make a real commitment to permanent jobs and extend the consultation period.
The USU/ASU has stood firm with our position that Auscript adopt the JobKeeper payment of $1500 per fortnight per employee in order to retain as many permanent staff as possible in the first instance.
The USU/ASU advised Auscript and the Commissioner many members had accepted the idea of taking leave, whether annual, long service or leave without pay. We also advised that members had endorsed stand down without pay so that they were eligible for JobKeeper/JobSeeker payments until work at Auscript picked up again. This would mean jobs are not lost and instead there would be a temporary stop to the work.
Auscript insisted the proposed consultation meeting be brought forward and stated several times it wished to have a decision on the fate of its workers made by this Friday. There were initially no real tangible options for workers other than redundancy.
The USU/ASU rejected this and insisted more time for consultation in a genuine way with the aim as, recognised by Commissioner Yilmaz, for a ‘package’ of options to the mutual benefit of Auscript and staff.
There has been some confusion with regard to the Melbourne office as Auscript made it clear during the last conference that they wanted all staff to return to work on Thursday. In fairness to our members the USU/ASU made this intention known and demanded Auscript provide clarity on this. Auscript changed their minds at the last minute on Wednesday evening, which has caused confusion and issued letters to staff advising they are not required to return to work in the Melbourne until further notice.
The Statement by Commissioner Yilmaz provided a short history to the dispute and confirmed the following process:
- No compulsory redundancy until the parties finalise a strategy considering all options to preserve jobs. Item 5 at paragraph  of the Statement lists 10 options starting with Federal wage subsidies. The first meeting to be held on Friday 3 April at 10 am and an FWC report back at 4.30 pm. At the meeting the ASU to provide feedback from their members’ meetings and Auscript to share information about financial modelling.
- While parties have not agreed on a conclusion date for consultation they need to regroup and consider options in Australia’s response to the COVID-19 changes.
- Finalisation of the Consultation and Communication protocol.
While Auscript had not provided a statement of its commitment to permanent jobs to the Commission as agreed at the last FWC Conference; this has now been provided as a letter to staff from Chief Operating Officer, Kate Gaske where she states:
“Firstly, I would like to reiterate that we are working to retain as many permanent roles as possible during the COVID-19 crisis”
(see attached letter – download here).
The ASU needs to meet with members as soon as possible to inform them that consultation is not over and that many options DO exist and to seek feedback as to which options members wish to take.
Members are to consider the following options and report back to the USU/ASU on their preferred choices.
- Federal Wage subsidies (JobKeeper program)
- Utilisation of leave balances
- Reducing working hours
- Job share
- Leave without pay
- Taking leave at half pay
- Career breaks or leave of absence for professional development
- Voluntary redundancy and
- Any other option members suggest
Members also need to consider the attached draft ‘Consultation and Communication’ protocol now recommended for endorsement.
To facilitate the consultative meeting this Friday, the more feedback we receive the better placed we will be to protect as many jobs as possible.
Please contact your Organiser listed below or your delegate to notify them of your intentions as soon as you feel informed enough to make a decision.
For more information, please get in touch with:
Emily Callachor on:
0417 420 924 email@example.com or
Troy Dunne on:
0419 403 076 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re not a member of the USU, you can join online now at our secure form: https://usu.org.au/join
- The Statement issued late yesterday by Commissioner Yilmaz confirming what were the agreed outcomes despite Auscript not subsequently following through on their obligations.
- A belated letter to staff from Chief Operating Officer, Kate Gaske, commiting to permanent jobs.
- Draft ‘Consultation and Communication’ Protocol recommended for endorsement by members.