On Saturday, the protected action ballot was sent to all members. Whilst the vote doesn’t close until next Wednesday, the union would like to go through several important points regarding protected industrial action and what this means for you.
Put simply, protected industrial action is action that has been approved by the Fair Work Commission and subsequently voted on in a ballot. If a majority of members support taking protected action via a ballot, then the Fair Work Commission issues an Order to this effect. The only type of protected industrial action is that which is authorized by the Fair Work Commission and can only take place when bargaining is ongoing. Contrast this to unprotected (or illegal) industrial action, which is an form of industrial action taken outside of the bargaining period.
It is important to remember a few things when engaging in protected industrial action. Firstly, only union members are protected by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), which means that non-members who partake in industrial action will not be protected by the Act.
The union is also required to notify the employer, that being Serco in this instance, in advance of taking industrial action (ordinarily, the notice period is three days). It is important to make sure that you pay attention to the bulletins that the union puts out, as you can only take the specific type of action on the days contained within the notice. We will communicate with members directly and on a daily basis once the Order is approved by the Fair Work Commission to make sure that you are taking action in accordance with the notice periods and are therefore protected under the Act.
The answer to this question is simple: no employer can take adverse action against an employee for taking protected industrial action. You are fully protected under the Act, and if there is any indication of unfair treatment or threats on the basis that you are taking part in protected action, the union will hold Serco accountable. If you are told that you will get in trouble for taking action, are threatened in any way, or anything else is said that implies that you are not lawfully protected during this process, contact the union immediately on 1300 772 679.
All members need to wait for the Order to be issued by the Fair Work Commission. As soon as this happens, we will immediately commence taking protected industrial action. Stay tuned and keep an eye out for any communication from the union, and as always please send us an email if you have any questions or concerns.
United We Bargain, Divided We Beg!