Last week, the union met with MTC representatives for the first time since the vote on the Enterprise Agreement (EA) was held. For those who weren’t aware, the proposed wage offer was overwhelmingly rejected by employees at Parklea.
The union went to the most recent EA meeting and reaffirmed our commitment to the bargaining process, and informed MTC that we wanted to continue negotiating. In doing so, the union’s position was restated: that a pay increase of four per cent per annum is offered, or that the current pay increase is offered plus compensation for weekends worked. It was at this point that MTC stated there was absolutely “no more money”. Like every other company during EA negotiations, MTC is apparently too poor to offer anything more than a pittance to the workers who generated their profits throughout a global pandemic.
It was on this basis that the union informed MTC of our intention to lodge an application for a protected action ballot in the Fair Work Commission. At this point, it would be a good idea to address some of the frequently asked questions about protected industrial action that members have.
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 union members support taking protected action via a ballot, then they can take protected action and be lawfully protected in doing so. The only type of protected industrial action is that which is authorised by the Fair Work Commission and can only take place when bargaining is ongoing. Contrast this to unprotected (or illegal) industrial action, which is a form of industrial action taken outside of the bargaining period.
The answer to this question is simple: no employer can take adverse action against any union member for taking protected industrial action. You are fully protected under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), 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 MTC accountable.
However, it is important to note that only union members can participate in protected industrial action. This means that if you are not a member you are not lawfully able to take part in any action that happens. For this reason, it is incredibly important that you join the union if you are not already a member. For protected industrial action to be successful, it is critical that almost everybody participates. If you are not a member of the CPSU NSW yet, you can join online HERE.
Most people think of protected industrial action as going on strike or participating in a stoppage. This is one type of action, but there are a range of other things that we can do which will hurt MTC. Bans on overtime, bans on performing muster, and bans on letting go are a few examples.
The union will commence the process of lodging the protected action ballot application in the Fair Work Commission. However, we would first love to hear your thoughts on the matter. We would greatly appreciate it if members could take the time to fill out the following survey as soon as possible: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GSDYRXZ.
If you have any questions between now and Monday, you can get in touch with the union by sending an email to or . You can also contact Jess on 0401 521 561 or Kim on 0408 249 277 or speak to Brian Kirk or Mark Ward.