combined union negotiating team met with Ausgrid over yesterday and today for
the 5th meeting since negotiations recommenced on 22 February this
year. Over the past few weeks sub working groups off the main negotiating team
have met on two separate occasions (without management) to discuss proposals
for the headline issues listed below. The full negotiating team also reconvened
on Monday this week to review these proposals prior to the EBA meetings with
Ausgrid. Below is a summary of the EBA meeting progress to date.
EBA Day 1. 12 April 2017; dealt with the
following headline issues
Redeployment / Redundancy; There appears to be a
consensus that the no forced redundancy provisions of the legislation will be
honoured and reflected in the agreement. That is to say, there will be no
forced redundancies prior to the June 2020. Productive discussion is occurring
around the following issues associated with this subject;
· The operation of a thorough mix and match program, more thorough training
and priority access to internal jobs as a precondition for identification of
future redeployees – this issue overlaps with the current consultation over
Ausgrid’s recent proposal for another reduction of 300 full time equivalent roles
in financial year 2018.
· An incentive for redeployees to exit the business which includes a more
generous training component.
· The nature of redundancies post June 2020 when the job guarantee period
· A regular Apprentice / Trainee / Cadet intake.
Consultation / Dispute
Settlement; The combined unions tabled draft clauses which make the consultation and
dispute processes more defined and systematic in terms of how consultation
occurs. Under the combined Unions proposal, there are associated timetables
which would govern the length of consultation and disputes based on the breadth
and complexity of the proposal under consultation or dispute. The proposals
also make more specific references to a delegate structure, nominated and
recognized in a revised delegate’s charter. A revised delegate’s charter clause
detailing the proposed delegate’s structure and including scheduled paid
delegates meetings was also tabled.
Classification structures and
allowances; some progress has been made in this area, however given the complexity of
the current skills structures which sit under the associated classifications, the
consensus is that it will only be possible in this Agreement, to arrive at a
road map of how we might transition to a new classification structure. The aim
is to have a new classification structure which is simplified and emphasizes
multiskilling. The proposal to move forward with this is that the
Classification Structure / Allowances sub working group will attend workshops
with Ausgrid management through May to work on a proposal which meets these
criteria. I have listed the members of that working group further below and urge
all members to communicate their input on this matter with these delegates.
EBA Day 2;
13 April 2017; dealt with the following secondary issues
presented a grab bag of speculative claims most of which were remnants from the
previous owners. These claims relate to Allowances, Payroll frequency,
Management discretion on the taking of RDO’s, Annual Leave and Long Service
Leave, and leave at half pay. Most of the Ausgrid claims would result in a loss
of conditions for members and as we have consistently said from day 1 we will
not be in the business of trading off basic conditions. We made this abundantly
clear to Ausgrid. Having said that, there may well be some areas for reform
where suggestions are sensible and do not result in a material loss of
conditions for members. We are and should always be open minded about any such
issues raised by the unions included;
· Paid delegates meetings.
· Simplification of shift work clauses and rationalization of shift
· Reformed contracting out clause.
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