Your 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 expires and
· 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
Ausgrid 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 proposals.
Other issues raised by the unions included;
· Paid delegates meetings.
· Simplification of shift work clauses and rationalization of shift allowances.
· Reformed contracting out clause.