Region 7 Greenfield and bargaining update
Our first bargaining session took place last Wednesday. The main aim was to set the parameters of bargaining and general housekeeping.
Your negotiating committee consists of Delegates Allan Nickoll and Gary Baker, Industrial Officer Lizanne Bennet, Divisional Secretary David Babineau, and Divisional President Daniel Jaggers.
To refresh your memory, the top 5 items important to members were:
- 5 weeks annual leave
- No backwards step in pay
- Keep all allowances at the least or improve them
- Keep ADO’s
- Sick leave, same rates or improved
Other notable mentions include meal breaks at the depot and no 13-hour broken shifts. All these and more made up the union agenda when we met in bargaining.
In a big development last night, the decision was finally handed down in the appeal we launched against the Greenfield Agreement that Busways put in place. This is what created a two-tiered workplace. As we know, they also put in a ‘back-up’ to that in the form of an Enterprise Agreement which was facilitated by TfNSW. In the judgement, the federal court unanimously agreed that the Fair Work Commission erred in its original approval as well as in dismissing the union’s original appeal.
This means that we only have the back-up EA to deal with in negotiations which will simplify the process if we negotiate an EA, but this was also a test case. If we had lost this fight, every time someone took over a new business they could try for a Greenfield Agreement which locks employees out of negotiating for their conditions for the life of the Agreement. We’ve now got some definitions and explanations from the court that protects workers in the future from companies trying to opportunistically rip off workers in that way.
When you remember that only recently, the Liberal/National federal government tried to have the maximum length of a Greenfield Agreement extended to 8 years instead of 4, this decision is even more important to protect workers from across the country in the future.