Thursday, 28 September 2017

Water NSW enterprise bargaining update

Water NSW enterprise bargaining update – September 2017 (PDF version)

Time to act – your union needs your help!

Your CPSU NSW Bargaining Team met with Water NSW management and other unions on 25-26 September to ‘negotiate’ the unified enterprise agreement.

The CPSU NSW did not feel like there was any negotiations.

We were presented with the proposal and any objections or requests for variations were either outright rejected or rejected after a short delay.

Presentations are misleading

The devil is in the detail and the CPSU NSW felt that much of what Water NSW was presenting was misleading and confusing. ‘Annual remuneration’ was presented as ‘minimum of 3.2%’ with a maximum of 10%. This suggests that your salary will increase by 3.2% up to 10%. This is just not the case.

For a full review of the salary proposals please click HERE.

Many allowances are being removed or shifted in policy. The current prohibition against higher duties between 5 and 30 days will also continue while having the agreement ‘permit’ it to be used. What is the use of a higher duties clause that doesn’t get used?

Water NSW claims they centrally approve higher duties in some limited circumstances when certain managers request it for their employees.

However, management did report to the unions that their policy of distributing the higher duties work across teams of employees, and using the situation as ‘development opportunity’ without any allowance was the preferred means.

While Water NSW has ‘listened’ to the unions and employees about higher duties, they are hiding their true intentions to remove higher duties from being used in most, if not all, occasions.

Please click HERE to review all the allowances being cut, reduced or kept, and vote on your response to these proposals.

The CPSU NSW needs to hear from you about what changes are acceptable and which changes should be rejected. Please note, there is no incentives being offered to trade off any of these allowances.

Other conditions being removed or changed

Water NSW has proposed a whole raft of cuts to conditions and changes, the most important being the loss of compulsory arbitration when a dispute arises. The ‘standard Fair Work’ dispute clause is based around ‘consent arbitration’ which gives the employer the right to refuse each and every time to have the Commission make a determination or order to resolve workplace issues.

The loss of compulsory arbitration means it is nearly impossible to enforce any of the wages and conditions in the enterprise agreement. Recourse may be available to the Federal Court for a clear breach, however this is expensive to run and risky.

Having compulsory arbitration in every enterprise agreement is so important that the Independent Education Union is taking industrial action over this issue for their members in the NSW Catholic Education system.

What is the use of an enterprise agreement where employees and their unions can’t effectively require the employer to implement?

Do you trust management to ‘do the right thing’ every single time?

Given what the CPSU NSW has seen of the management of Water NSW over recent years, the union certainly doesn’t trust their ‘goodwill’.

For a full break down of the proposed cuts to your conditions, please keep an eye out for future updates. As the full range of details become clearer the CPSU NSW will update members further.

As you can see, there is a lot for members to consider. The CPSU NSW expects that Water NSW will put their version of the enterprise agreement out to a vote of all staff without the unions’ approval.

If this happens, management will try to influence the employees’ vote and make their proposal look as good as possible.

As unlikely as it may be, there are colleagues out there who are not part of the union. This means they are not informed about what is being proposed and what the impacts are likely to be.

For these reasons, it is vitally important that all members share this with colleagues, and ask them to JOIN the CPSU NSW.

Discuss these issues above with all your colleagues. The more everyone knows about both side’s views, the better informed everyone will be before a vote is required.

Where CPSU NSW members decide to reject the non-union agreement, we will need every member to help campaign against it. Start the conversations with your colleagues today!

Please note, CPSU NSW members are also members of the Public Service Association of NSW. The PSA is the Associated Body that resources and manages the CPSU NSW

JOIN the CPSU NSW on Facebook at