Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Fair Work Commission decision

Jun 17, 2022Uncategorized

This week the FWC handed down its decision on the Annual Wage Review which decided if the minimum wage is going to be increased and if so, by how much. This is complicated for us because anyone covered by a Copied State Award is also included in this. Companies have the opportunity to argue against the increase and all 4 operators of the core Sydney bus regions did so. The affected workgroups are as follows-

  • Keolis Downer Northern Beaches- Maintenance
  • Busways- Bus Operators, Salaried, Maintenance
  • Transit Systems- Bus Operators, Salaried
  • Transdev john Holland Buses- Salaried, Maintenance

The RTBU, ASU and AMWU put in combined submissions on why the increase should apply, but the decision was to NOT pass on the minimum wage increase to these workgroups for several reasons.

Firstly, all workgroups are at above minimum wage rates. Secondly, most of these workgroups received a wage rise for this year. Thirdly, EA bargaining is either happening in all locations or planned to happen in the immediate future. The FWC decided that EA bargaining would deliver a fair wage rise.

The other decision the FWC panel considered was the back-pay of about $3.5 million owed to ex-STA employees in region 6 between 2019-2021 (financial years) that the RTBU identified in a federal court case last year. This is for ex-STA employees past and present, as long as they were employed during that period. Transit Systems submitted why they thought the company should not have to pay and again, the combined unions argued why they should. In the end the FWC ruled the company DOES have to pay this money back to its employees.

For employees who were NOT union members, they company will be reaching out to track down and pay affected workers. For workers who WERE union members, the RTBU will be doing this. The union will be leaving no stone unturned to reunite workers with any payment they are entitled to.

To make things even more complicated, it’s since come to light that the auditor who did the initial review of the underpayment applied the pay increases (the ones we got from the court) to the Industry Allowance. While traditionally, the Industry Allowance is indexed to the wage rises, the Minimum Wage increases (which gave us the last couple of pay rises) does NOT apply to allowances. This means there has effectively been some overpayment since rates were adjusted by the 2.5% last financial year and the 1.75% adjustment for the 2019-2021 period.

The company will be taking any overpayment out of the underpayment due, and the court and union are watching the process carefully.