General Trade, Mining and Manufacturing

General Trade, Mining and Manufacturing

Bluescope reportback following Fair Work Commission

Peter Moss - Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Bluescope Reportback following Fair Work Commission

Dear Members

As you are aware, The AWU, ETU and AMWU sought the assistance of the Fair Work Commission yesterday to bring Bluescope to the table. Following a brief report from the Unions and the company, both sides separately met with Deputy President Dean to discuss the current negotiations and the points that we are currently unable to reach agreement on.

The parties then reconvened, and some discussions were had around BlueScope’s offer. It is clear that at the moment Bluescope are unwilling to move from their current position. Bluescope also introduced a new claim, Bluescope indicated that they want to remove the existing superannuation clause from the agreement and have it contained in an MOU. The Unions are opposed to the removal of this clause.

The Unions had a brief discussion with the commissioner on how we could continue to have the assistance of Fair Work and keep Bluescope talking.

The Unions agreed to put to Bluescope that we use the Interest Based Bargaining process properly, with the process assisted and controlled by the Commission in an attempt to resolve the outstanding issues. Bluescope agreed to this.

Whilst we continue with our industrial campaign the Unions believe that we should be exploring every avenue in trying to achieve an acceptable EBA outcome. We need to keep talking and negotiating while apply pressure through industrial action.

The interest based bargaining process is entered into only by agreement and the outcome of bargaining must be agreed by the Unions and the Company and final acceptance by the membership is through the normal EBA approval formal voting process. So if an acceptable outcome can not be achieved through this process it is not forced upon the members unless you agree to it.

We have nothing to lose by trying a new approach to bargaining. At the moment the answer to our outstanding claims is “NO”, if interest-based bargaining can shift some of those answers we should explore it.

When? 17th, 18th & possibly the 19th of December 2018.

During these 2-3 days we will pause our industrial action to allow negotiations to take place.

Yours in Unity
Brad Currey, ETU Organiser, NSW Branch.