Thursday, 2 April 2020

CPSU NSW endorses new 3.5% annual wage deal at AGL Macquarie

By now you will have received a copy of the proposed new Enterprise Agreement (EBA) and other explanatory information to consider prior to a staff ballot opening on 5 April 2020.

Briefly, negotiations for the new agreement with the company began on 25 July 2019. After the parties reached stalemate in bargaining AGLM notified the unions they intended to put an offer directly to staff.

The key changes made from the current EBA are as follows:

  • Four 3.5 per cent pay increases over the life of the Proposed Agreement, with the first pay increase to be effective from 31 December 2019 (payable from the first full pay period following a successful ballot to approve the agreement, with continuation of that pay increase subject to approval of the agreement by the Fair Work Commission);
  • All overtime (other than on public holidays) to be remunerated at double time (with public holiday overtime remunerated at double time + ordinary pay for day workers and double time and a half for shift workers);
  • Recognition of maintenance day work and remuneration arrangements, and the provision of additional annual leave for maintenance day workers;
  • A range of commitments from AGL Macquarie in relation to the closure of Liddell, including no forced redundancies as a direct result of the closure, provision for the transfer of impacted employees to Bayswater with their classification and rate of pay maintained, no forced relocation to another AGL business outside of the Hunter Region as a result of the closure, and the opportunity for impacted Employees to undertake relevant training;
  • Additional salary levels to recognise use of the full range of skills by Operators as contemplated by the new Operator Skills Flexibility clause in Appendix A of the Proposed Agreement (this will also be supported by a revised version of the Operator attachments to the Salary Progression Process Standard (HRS 017), to come into effect upon the commencement of the Proposed Agreement); and
  • Additional reimbursement and leave entitlements for employees who are required or seek to be accredited as a Registered or Chartered Professional Engineer.

Mass union meetings were held on 12 March and AGLM proposal was debated.

A motion was put forward by the rank and file to reject the offer and this carried by the meeting. The unions wrote to AGLM advising them of our combined position and requesting a final meeting to resolve the deadlock.

AGLM agreed to the meeting but the parties were unable achieve a resolution.

A bargaining dispute was file by CFMMEU, and subsequently supported by the CPSU and ETU. The Fair Work Commission held a conciliation conference on 26 March 2020, in an attempt to resolve the changes Bayswater Operators’ role. While the Commission was somewhat sympathetic to our application, the FWC ultimately expressed the opinion that the proposal should be seriously considered by staff in light of the current health crisis and economic outlook. Click HERE for a copy of the FWC statement.

It should be noted the unions were seriously contemplating “No Vote” Campaign. However, many things have changed in only a short period of time. The COVID-19 health crisis has seen a sharp spike in unemployment and with dire economic predictions on the horizon.

AGLM has also advised since COVID-19 began that if this offer is voted down and negotiation need to start again then the 3.5 per cent increase and effective pay rise date of 31stDecember 2019 would be off the table completely.

Bearing in mind the high level of uncertainty over the economy, the views express by the FWC, the CPSU NSW bargaining team recommends members Vote “Yes” to the current offer.

On a personal note, we would like to acknowledge and thank our bargaining representatives for their time and valued input over the last several months. Agreements are always hard fought, and we could not do it without their commitment.

The CPSU NSW Enterprise Bargaining Team

Scott Flynn Operator
Greg Cooper Operator
Grahame McNeill Operator
Shane Delforce Technical
Phil Innes Team Leader
Terry Joy Team Leader

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United We Bargain, Divided We Beg!