As you are no doubt aware, Water NSW has asked the Fair Work Commission for assistance in relation to enterprise bargaining with a formal conciliation conference commencing this morning.
We want to remind members that since last November we have repeatedly called on Water NSW to reconvene negotiations and have outlined a range of practical, pragmatic measures to address the complexities faced by the corporation.
For instance, following the successful outcome of our application to have the Annual Wage Review Decision passed on to all employees covered by copied state awards (for example, former DPI and SCA staff), we suggested Water NSW pay an equivalent increase to its other employees as a demonstration of good faith and equity. We suggested Water NSW could do this either by way of administrative action (our preference) or by formalising a new short-term agreement for staff covered by the State Water Corporation Enterprise Agreement 2015, while we continue negotiations for a single, unified enterprise agreement for all staff. After months of deliberation, the corporation agreed to pay (and back date) the 3.3 per cent increase administratively and has followed suit and will pass on a similar 3.5 per cent increase from 1 July this year.
Similarly, we have encouraged Water NSW to take a pragmatic approach to resolving the disparities which exist between the various instruments. Following the corporation’s unsuccessful attempt to introduce a new remuneration methodology, we suggested they consider the NSW Public Service classification and remuneration frameworks as a useful reference point and guide to future bargaining.
In short, we have expressed a willingness to negotiate and ultimately endorse a new “unified” enterprise agreement. We’ve backed it up with realistic and affordable proposals. We really want to get this thing done.
It is true we were disappointed Water NSW chose to lodge its dispute application without first consulting the unions and seeking our consent. However, we want to assure members we will be doing everything we reasonably can to settle on a new agreement as quickly as possible. We go into this next phase, with the Fair Work Commission, in good faith and in the spirit of constructive collaboration.
Please do not hesitate to contact our bargaining representatives if you have any questions:
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