Unions have lodged a formal dispute against the AFL before the industrial umpire, accusing the league of imposing a major restructure and hundreds of job cuts without engaging in genuine consultation.
The legal escalation follow’s AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan’s announcement on Monday that hundreds of jobs would go by November, with up to half of all positions impacted in some way.
In documents lodged with the Fair Work Commission this afternoon, the United Services Union outlined allegations that the AFL had not engaged in genuine consultation with employees, including by failing to provide adequate information on the proposed structures or allowing sufficient time for staff to respond.
The union document also alleges that the AFL changed their redundancy policy in March without notifying employees, disadvantaging long-serving staff.
“Unions have written to AFL management on a number of occasions, clearly outlining their legal obligations and imploring them to actively engage with staff and their representatives,” USU organiser Troy Dunne said.
“Those efforts have been rebuffed at every turn, leaving us with no choice but to escalate this dispute to the independent industrial umpire, the Fair Work Commission.
“The AFL has an obligation to play by the rules, which include a legal obligation to engage with the organisations that represent the interests of staff.
“We are not telling the AFL that they can’t undertake a restructure — our members have been in no doubt for some time that there would be job cuts — but this action is about ensuring employees are treated with dignity and respect at all times.”
Mr Dunne said the union action specifically challenged the AFL’s claims that they had been consulting with employees for months.
“Our members overwhelmingly feel they have been left in the dark and excluded from the restructure process,” he said.
“Instead of genuine consultation, their futures are decided behind closed doors while they are stood down due to the pandemic.
“For all of the good the AFL does in the community, it appears they have abandoned the principles of equality and fairness when it comes to dealing with loyal staff.”
The union also criticised the AFL for seeking to cut jobs at the same time as it was receiving support from the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program.
“Despite receiving money from JobKeeper, which provides financial assistance to maintain the connection between workers and their employers, the AFL has instead decided to desert employees in their time of need,” Mr Dunne said.
“There is no justification for axing jobs in a matter of weeks when the AFL remains eligible for JobKeeper assistance well into next year.”
Further information: Tim Vollmer — 0404 273 313