Forestry Corp Enterprise Agreement Negotiations PSA Update #1

Forestry Corp Enterprise Agreement Negotiations PSA Update #1 (PDF version)

The first full enterprise bargaining meeting was held on 7 May.

Your PSA Bargaining Team (consisting of PSA delegates and an industrial advocate), along with representatives of other unions, met management to start two days of negotiations over a new staff Enterprise Agreement.

This followed a brief initial discussion between unions and management on 30 April (PSA) and 1 May (AWU).

Management tabled proposed changes to the current Enterprise Agreement.

There were many minor items on which the parties reached in-principle agreement. However, management also proposed a number of significant reductions in conditions.

What else did management propose?

  1. Management want the Agreement to only cover levels 1–6. This is known as the scope of the Agreement. The PSA wants the Agreement to cover all staff covered by the current Agreement.

The unions collectively rejected management’s proposal.

  1. Management proposed a two-year Agreement.

The unions can agree to a two-year Agreement.

  1. Management proposed pay increases of 2.5% in the first year and 1.5% in the second year.

These were rejected by the unions. All other public-sector awards and agreements we are negotiating are delivering 2.5% per year.

  1. Management proposed changes to fire-fighting overtime. The proposal was for normal time during normal work hours or bandwidth and normal overtime provisions after that.

This was not accepted. Unions will explore alternatives and review the impacts of all proposals.

  1. Management is seeking significantly reduce or remove allowances. This would include travel-related meal allowances, daily-rate travel allowances and first aid.

This was unanimously rejected. We proposed to maintain current allowances and the means by which they are increased.

  1. Management proposed removing special provisions (leave) for Western staff.

The unions rejected this.

  1. Management proposed inserting a clause to enable suspension for “serious adverse performance”.

The unions rejected this.

  1. Management proposed to delete contractor clause references to the s127 IR Act.

The unions rejected this.

  1. Variations in staff working 35- and 38-hour weeks were tabled as potential issues.

The unions are supportive if the move is initiated by the individual, with full payment for extra hours.

At the end of the 7 May meeting, management requested the meeting scheduled for the following day be cancelled to allow them to consider our response. This was agreed to.

Where to from here?

  • Your PSA bargaining team will continue to fight the attacks on your conditions, but we need your support in this.
  • If you want to keep your existing conditions, or achieve better pay and conditions in the future, the single most effective thing you can do is to ensure all your work colleagues join the PSA. Why don’t you ask a colleague to join the PSA today?
  • The PSA will continue to keep members informed about the Agreement and continue to listen to your views about the Agreement

Andrew Holland and Kerrie Butson – PSA Industrial Staff
On behalf of your PSA Bargaining Team and Departmental Committee Delegates.