Your union met with MTC on Tuesday, having reached out for another meeting to discuss the latest wage offer in order to see if we could negotiate a higher increase for members without having to take protected industrial action. Unsurprisingly, MTC is sticking to its guns and claiming there is no more money on the table. It was very clear that MTC is only willing to offer to members what they get paid under their contract and not a cent more.
Whilst the CPSU NSW is willing to continue meeting with MTC to see if we can reach an agreement on pay and/or compensation for weekends worked, we now believe we have no choice but to lodge an application in the Fair Work Commission for a Protected Industrial Action Ballot. The reality is that MTC has saved a lot of money by not paying a wage increase to date. The company is unlikely to reach into its own pockets and pay you more than what has already been offered unless it is forced to.
On that note, it is worth doing a recap about what this means for you and what happens moving forward.
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 the Fair Work Commission issues an Order to this effect. 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.
The union will formally lodge the relevant paperwork next week. After that, it will be a few weeks before we can start the vote process, as the Fair Work Commission needs to review our application and will issue the Order thereafter.
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). Non-members who partake in industrial action will not be protected by the Act.
The union is also required to notify the employer, MTC in this instance, in advance of taking industrial action. Oordinarily, the notice period is three days. It is important to make sure that you pay attention to the bulletins 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 any union member 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 MTC 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.
As mentioned above, the union will now start the process of filing the ballot application. Again, only union members can take protected industrial action, so now is the time to join the union. You can join online HERE. The importance of being a union member before the vote commences cannot be understated, and so if you want to take part in our collection action you will need to join the CPSU NSW.
In your line of work, you are faced with many challenges in a highly volatile environment. Being a Correctional Officer means you constantly work in an unpredictable environment where anything could happen. The role that you play is so incredible valuable, and it is only appropriate that you are remunerated accordingly.