The USU has met with HCF for the third time on Thursday 24 May 2018. We would like to say that the negotiations are progressing well; to a degree they have, as the USU has agreed in principal to a number of HCF’s claims, when they were of benefit to our members. Other items put forward by HCF were not agreed to; the USU is given only the choice to “agree” or “disagree” rather than having a discussion and reaching middle ground. The USU is disappointed by this approach.
HCF initiated negotiations on the premise of “simplifying” the agreement. Some of the simplifications are to the benefit of members however some are to your detriment. The USU is making proposals to alter clauses in the EA that are better off overall for all our members. This in turn improves the conditions for non-members. Details of these discussions are contained below, in our separate log of claims.
The USU hopes that the rest of the EA negotiations will follow the principals of good faith bargaining.
The Fair Work Act 2009 establishes a set of clear rules and obligations about how this process is to occur, including rules about bargaining, the content of enterprise agreements, and how an agreement is made and approved. You can read more at https://www.fairwork.gov.au
What are the requirements of good faith bargaining?
Bargaining representatives are required to act in good faith in the process of bargaining for a proposed enterprise agreement.
The following are the good faith bargaining requirements that a bargaining representative must meet:
- attending and participating in meetings at reasonable times
- disclosing relevant information (other than confidential or commercially sensitive information) in a timely manner
- responding to proposals made by other bargaining representatives for the agreement in a timely manner
- giving genuine consideration to the proposals made by other bargaining representatives, and giving reasons for any responses to those proposals
- not behaving in a capricious or unfair way that undermines freedom of association or collective bargaining
- recognising and bargaining with the other bargaining representatives for the agreement.
The USU is committed to engaging in the good faith bargaining process with the hopes of reaching an in principal agreement by 30 June 2018. It is unreasonable for HCF to say that they will not back pay a wage increase due to a hold up in the Fair Work Commission. The USU is hopeful that HCF will alter their position of this item, as well as enter into fair and reasonable discussion on our other log of claim items. The USU is hopeful for an EA that has strengthened conditions for all of our members.
Below is the current status for HCF’s and the USU’s Log of Claims.
If you have any questions, please contact your USU bargaining representative(s):
HCF Log of Claims
- Travel time (clause 15)
That all EA employees received their base rate of pay, for all travel time outside of ordinary hours, to the nearest minute. The USU agreed with this proposal in principal without prejudice*.
- Junior rates (Schedule A)
To remove separate pay rates for junior employees, thereby ensuring all EA employees are paid the same rate for the same work. The USU agreed with this proposal in principal without prejudice.
- Part-Time employee’s additional hours (clause 9)
To reduce the period to which an EA employee is entitled to the 20% loading, from 2 weeks’ notice down to 1 weeks’ notice. Following consultation with members, the USU did not agree to this proposal.
- Higher duties allowance (clause 16)
To increase the period of acting in a higher role from 4 single days, to 5 consecutive days, whereby an EA employee is entitled to receive the applicable remuneration. Following consultation with the membership, the USU did not agree to this proposal. The reason being that, any time an employee is acting at a higher duty, they should be remunerated appropriately for it. The USU believes that 4 single days is more beneficial and achievable than 5 consecutive days.
- Family & Friends Day / Public Holidays (clause 22)
To remove requirement for EA employees to take the Family & Friends day on a gazetted public holiday. Following consultation with the membership, initially the USU did not agree to this, however following further discussion with HCF of the effects, USU did agree to this in principal without prejudice.
- Sick Leave notification (clause 20)
To reduce the period upon returning to work to provide your evidence from 7 days to 1 day. The USU proposed the wording be changed to “as soon as practicable” however HCF did not agree, therefore the USU did not agree with this proposal. The reason being that whichever time frame is enshrined in the EA would be enforceable thereby opening members up to disciplinary action in the workplace, if for a reason outside of their control they were unable to enter the evidence on the first day back to work.
- Non-Direct weekend coverage (clause 5)
That the ordinary hours of work for “non direct” staff (i.e. Branches) is updated to reflect the ordinary hours span of “Direct Unit” employees. The proposal is:
Monday to Sunday, 7:00an until 21:00 with OT rates applicable on Saturday from Midday and all day Sunday. The USU agreed with this proposal in principal without prejudice, as HCF guaranteed that this would not include a rotating roster and OT rates were payable.
- Annual leave loading (clause 18)
To retain leave loading for current EA employees and removing for new employees. This item is still open for discussion, however preliminary investigations around the implication of this suggests it is not recommended.
- Training & development
To remove the requirement for HCF to train employees, instead that training may be available and that HCF may reimbursement staff for the costs. This appears to be a simple change by HCF however the wording restricts an excellent entitlement. The USU did not agree to this.
To use the Work Choices Model clause. The USU is of the opinion that the model clause is not in the best interests of employees, therefore has preliminarily disagreed with the proposal, however discussion of the clause and the reasons for HCFs desire to use this clause is expected to take place on 29 May 2018. The USU has consultation included in our log of claims as well.
– Replace “Enterprise Bargaining Agreement” with “Enterprise Agreement” which is in line with current practice. The USU agreed.
* An “in principal without prejudice” agreement means that we agree to the premise however as it forms part of a greater package, judgement is reserved until the final package can be reviewed in full. The final package is of course the enterprise agreement in its entirety.
USU Log of Claims
- Reasonable wage increase
5% or CPI whichever is greater, paid annually to all EA employees. HCF agreed to obtain costings and respond.
- No loss of conditions
The USU does not wish to see clauses which remove existing conditions. HCF did not agree agree to this.
- Job security
That casual employment is not used at the expense of permanent staff. HCF did not agree to this.
- Back pay
That if in “in principal” agreement was reached between HCF and the USU, that EA employees would receive the wage increase as due on 1 July 2018. Discussions to date have been that HCF requires the agreement to have been approval in the Fair Work Commission before 1 July 2018 for the wage increase to apply from 1 July 2018. This is not achievable. If HCF do not agree to an in principal agreement by 30 June 2018, they will not pay EA employee back dated to 1 July 2018. It is incredibly unfair; the Fair Work Commission process is outside of anyone’s control. HCF did not agree to this however agreed to discuss with the Board and respond.
- Dispute settlement procedure (proposed new clause)
The USU has submitted a draft clause that allows for disputes to be escalated through a three tiered systems, allows arbitration by the Fair Work Commission, includes Local and Peak Consultative Committees, for consultation and dispute settlements. HCF have agreed to respond to this clause by 5 June 2018, however forms part of the agenda for our meeting on 28 May 2018.
- Consultation (clause 28)
The USU has submitted a draft clause that requires consultation is undertaken with employees and unions; changes to rosters or hours of work, Peak and Local levels of consultation, removes “major change” as only factor and includes “significant” effect to employees. HCF have agreed to respond to this clause by 5 June 2018, however forms part of the agenda for our meeting on 28 May 2018.
- Delegates charter
The USU has submitted a draft clause that allows USU Delegates to consult other delegates during working hours, negotiate with management, call meetings and for members to attend, protection from victimisation, access to store union records, attend meetings, training, conferences provided by Union and place notices on union notice boards. It also sets out expectations from HCF in relation to Delegates and the USU.
- Special leave
- Instead of “community service leave” in Clause 19 Compassionate leave and community service leave
- Supporting employees who undertake community based activities and voluntary work
- Blood donations, attending EAP, personal circumstances, community service leave (jury duty, emergency management activity), and military training.
- Attending to union matters including training and official conferences.
- Special leave
b. Compassionate leave
- Separated from Clause 19 Compassionate leave and community service leave
- Maintain existing cl 19.2 and 19.3
- 2 days for each permissible occasion ( 2 continuous days, 2 single days)
c. Domestic violence clause
- Paid leave “in additional to existing entitlement”
- Up to 20 paid days
- General principle, definition, general measures
d. Annual leave – a proposal is yet to be put forward
e. Personal/carers leave
- Instances with or without evidence
- Leave accrual based on length of service.
- Employee access to leave accrual balance and record taken
- Position classifications
The USU is proposing that HCF define classifications within Schedule A, as well as provide description of classifications within the EA. The USU requested HCF to provide current practice including policy on this; HCF refused to provide the information.
- Bonus structure and criteria
The USU is proposing that HCF provided a description of KPI’s and how they are formulated and include a description of relevant performance review resulting in a “score”. The USU requested HCF to provide current practice including policy on this; HCF refused to provide the information.
- Employee Assistant Program (EAP)
The USU is proposing that access to an EAP be enshrined in the EA. Item forms part of the agenda for our meeting on 28 May 2018.
- Time in lieu
The USU is proposing that EA employees be able to take time off in lieu (TOIL) instead of paid overtime (OT), by agreement. Particularly for small amounts of time where OT is not paid i.ie. Less than 15 minutes at a time. Item forms part of the agenda for our meeting on 28 May 2018.
The USU is proposing an increase from 9.5% to 10+%. Item forms part of the agenda for our meeting on 28 May 2018.
The USU is proposing that a more exhaustive list of definitions be included in the EA. Item forms part of the agenda for our meeting on 28 May 2018.
- Separate rates of pay for Call Centres employees
The USU is proposing that for “Direct Unit” employees on a rotating roster, that that the shift loading is rolled into the base rate of pay. Item forms part of the agenda for our meeting on 28 May 2018.
- Any other matters which may arise from and during negotiations – This means that throughout negotiations, any further items that are revealed can be included as a log of claim item and can be discussed.
Further meetings are scheduled until the end of June 2018.
- Tuesday 29 May
- Wednesday 13 June
- Tuesday 19 June
- Tuesday 26 June
- Thursday 29 June
The meetings were scheduled in the hope that an in principal agreement could be reached by 30 June 2018, for approval by the Commission, to protect your back pay.
We will keep members updated with the EA as it progresses.
Workplace delegates play a vital role and we are always on the lookout for people who wish to help out their colleagues by nominating themselves to be a delegate.
Union delegates make up the largest volunteer work force in Australia, and as the eyes and ears on the ground, play a vital role in helping the broader union advocate effectively for its members.
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a workplace delegate, please call Emily Callachor on 0417 420 924. Alternatively, please email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The USU’s membership has grown this year and we remain the largest state branch of one of the largest federal unions.
Obviously, we wish to see our growth continue and we ask that our members continue to encourage their non-member colleagues to join – it’s 2 coffees a week for full time employees. New members can join by contacting Emily, Emma, Rebekah, Glynnis or Nadasha. Alternatively, point them towards our website – www.usu.org.au/join
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REMEMBER: UNITED WE BARGAIN, DIVIDED WE BEG.
USU Official – Emily Callachor – 0417 420 924 – email@example.com