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Centre News


s oliday h r u o Love y

Have a social life?

Got big pla ns?

Want more time for th e th

ings you love?

Bummer. Looks like you have to care about job security. What? Insecure work or “precarious employment” is where you’re classified as a casual, contract worker or independent contractor. You may have regular hours and do the same work as permanent employees, but technically, you’re not one.

Who? Up to 40% of Australian workers, or 2.2 million people, are in precarious employment. More than half have had the same job for 2-5 years and have no say in the days they work. At least 1.1 million would prefer to be a full or part time employee.

Why? Your employer classifies you as a casual or independent contractor so that they don’t have to pay you superannuation, paid leave, redundancy provisions or other employee benefits. They can also sack you at a moments notice and you have no time to find a new job. They may not even know they’re doing the wrong thing!

What’s it to me? As a casual or contractor, you can’t plan for holidays because you’re not guaranteed leave, or that you’ll have a job when you return. Your rosters can be changed at any time and you won’t be compensated, which makes it hard to plan a night out or make a regular commitment to your hobby. It’s hard to save money and plan for

the future because a few weeks illness or sudden lack of work can wipe out your savings. In other words, it messes with your life. The ASU bargains for more permanent full time and part-time positions, and can help you if you’ve been incorrectly classified.

ASU Members:

Call ASU assist to speak to an advisor


Join up! We can help! Fill in the form on the back page or go to for more info.

Authorised and printed by Ingrid Stitt, Branch Secretary ASU Victorian Private Sector Branch, 117 Capel St North Melbourne VIC 3051

Offshoring trend slowing down A recent report based on a survey of senior executives of major businesses shows that the demand for offshore contact centre services is slowing. Only 2% of executives said they would look to offshore their customer service in the next few years. The report’s author, Peter Ryan, stated that the trend reflected greater awareness of the risks of off-shoring. “Enterprises feel that the reduced

prices simply don’t compensate for the potential to lose customers in these tough economic times.”

for customers. We should be ensuring that these skills are developed in Australia”.

ASU Branch Secretary Ingrid Stitt recently spoke to A Current Affair of the business risks associated with offshoring, including data security, consumer backlash and coordination difficulties. “Australia has very skilled customer service staff who are dedicated to providing good outcomes


Energy Watch

Staff at the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman have long suffered the financial insecurity and stress of working under short-term contracts. Staff employed by TIO were often promised ongoing work, only to be immediately dismissed upon the expiry of their contract.

Most of the staff in EnergyWatch’s call centre have now signed up as members of the ASU. Staff are excited to have the union around, and look forward to resolving some of the issues they are experiencing with management. Staff wish to ensure that super and penalty rates are being paid correctly, and are Unsatisfied with the situation, TIO staff contacted the union and concerned by pay date fluctuations, which have have significantly improved union density in their workplace. caused financial uncertainty and employee liability Recently, the ASU was able to assist staff in seeking a majority for dishonour fees. support ballot in favour of an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA). With the support of a majority of staff at TIO, members Energy Watch has agreed to consult with the ATO can apply to Fair Work Australia to compel their employer to regarding unpaid super and to resolve the pay day negotiate. This will mean greater job security and a fairer deal for issues ahead of a meeting with ASU organiser Gail all staff. The majority support ballot is currently being voted on. Drummond. Penalty rates for employees working after 7pm will be on the agenda.

We’re customer-service professionals. We value our work. We’re in the ASU.

ASU Qantas customer service staff cool through grounding crisis

At 5pm on Saturday 29 October, ASU officials and staff watched with the rest of Australia as Qantas CEO Alan Joyce made the extraordinary announcement that he had decided to immediately ground the national carrier. Tens of thousands of passengers would be left stranded, Qantas staff would face uncertainty and anxiety, and the Qantas brand would suffer extensive public relations damage before the crisis was forcibly ended almost 36 hours later. As Australians struggled to come to grips with the unprecedented action taken by Qantas directors, ASU members in Qantas check in and customer service call centres bore the brunt of customer backlash. Our members at other airlines were also affected by the increased workload and high tensions. ASU organisers, who were on hand at airports throughout the country during the crisis, reported that ASU members showed exceptional professionalism and commitment in difficult circumstances, proving once again their value to the company. Contact Centre News - December 2011


What would you do for an extra

$114 every week?

At Vertex Business Services, an outsourced customer management centre, serious issues are emerging around the classification of employees. ‘Casual’ staff, who make up a large portion of the workforce, work the same regular hours as permanent staff, are required to apply for leave in advance, and provide a doctor’s certificate if absent due to illness. So, in what sense are these workers ‘casual’? In the sense that they can be sent home without pay if there’s insufficient work, or dismissed without notice, and in the sense that they receive neither superannuation payments nor paid leave. Casual work is often described as “flexible”, and recommended for students and others with outside work commitments. But Vertex staff do not seem to be benefiting from much flexibility. The ASU is investigating casual contracts at Vertex, and hopes to negotiate for staff to be converted to part-time and full-time employees.

Everyday banking with special benefits for ASU members. ME Bank’s EveryDay Transaction Account comes with a Debit MasterCard,® so you can shop anywhere using your own money – even online. And if you’re an ASU member, you get special benefits. No Monthly Fee: The $5 monthly account keeping fee will be waived if you deposit just $500 a month – like your salary. No dishonour fee for union dues: Set up your salary to be credited to your account, and if you’re ever caught short, we’ll honour your union dues and you won’t be charged a fee. So join ME Bank and join the fight for fairer banking. Go to

On average, union members earn $114 more per week than non-union members in the telecommunications and information industry. Why? •

Collective bargaining works! When union members work together, we have more say in our wages. By joining the union, you can help your workplace get a collective agreement – and that means higher pay!

The union gives us a voice In call centres where the union is active, staff are much more likely to be consulted on changes that affect the workplace.

The union represents our interests! Our union, the ASU, is owned and controlled by us, so it works hard to make sure we get a say in industry and government decisions. It was the ASU that made sure Call centre workers are protected by our own industry award (minimum pay and conditions), and now it’s working to prevent call centre jobs being sent offshore.

Joining the union is one of the smartest investments you can make. Dues are taxdeductible and contribute towards your future! Join up, and help us work for fairer pay for call centre workers! Fill in the join form overleaf, or visit to learn more.


The front cover of this edition of Contact Centre News features creative commons images: 1/12/11 4:09 PM “Beach cricket” by Simon Lieschke, “Occupy Los Angeles” by Ed Yourdon,“Hiking” by Moyan Brenn

210514 ASU A5P Union.indd 1

ASU Victorian Private Sector Branch ph| 9320-6700 fb| tw| @ASU_Organise

Australian Services Union Membership Application Form 2011-12

I agree to become a member of the Australian Municipal, Administrative, Clerical & Services Union (ASU). I agree to abide by the rules of the ASU as amended from time to time. I authorise the ASU to act on my behalf in respect of any negotiations, discussions or proceedings whatsoever relating to the terms and conditions of my employment or proposed employment; and to be given access to all documentation relating to my employment or proposed employment, including any type of employment contract, work workplace agreement, enterprise agreement or other industrial instrument. This authority remains in force until I revoke it in writing.

required fields

Section 1: Your Details Please return to the Australian Services Union Post: PO Box 324 North Melbourne VIC 3051

Title: __________ First Name: _________________ Surname: ________________________ Home Address: _________________________________ Suburb: ______________________ Postcode: ________ Signature: __________________________ Today’s Date: _____ /_____ /_____ Date of Birth: _____ /_____ /_____ PRIVACY: The Union is covered by the provisions of the Privacy Act 1998.

You can view the Union’s Privacy Statement at

Contact Details The ASU may need to contact you regarding your employment or membership. You can update your contact preferences at any time by contacting the office.

In Person: Level 1/ 117 Capel St North Melbourne By Fax: 03 9320 6799

I do not wish to receive any communication from the ASU Email: ______________________________________ Phone:(AH) ____________________ (Mob): __________________ (please complete one)

 Do not contact me at work Work Phone: ____________________ Work fax: __________________ Work Email: _____________________________________

ABN: 15 278 369 860

Section 2: Your employment details

Referred by:

Employer: ___________________________ Department: _____________________________ Employer address:_________________________________ Suburb: _____________________ Postcode: ________Occupation: _______________________________ Hours per week:  Fewer than 30  30+ hours Workplace issues I would most like addressed:

Join online

Section 3: Payment Details (please choose one:)

Fees: 11/12 30 hours or more per week Weekly F/nightly Monthly Quarterly

Adult $9.90 $19.80 $42.90 $128.70

Junior $7.50 $15.00 $32.50 $97.50

Less than 30 hours per week Adult Junior Weekly $7.30 $5.70 F/nightly $14.60 $11.40 Monthly $31.65 $24.70 Quarterly $94.90 $74.10 *gSt included Union Fees are tax deductible

1. Direct Debit

2. credit card

I/We ___________________________________________ authorise Australian Services Union - Victorian Private Sector Branch (APCA User ID No 062537) to arrange for funds to be deducted from my/our account at the financial institution identified below and as prescribed through the Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS). This authorisation is to remain in force in accordance with the terms described in the Service Agreement.

card type:  Visa

name of Financial institution: _________________ bSb number: ________________________________ Account number: _____________________________ Account name: _______________________________ regular Debit:

 Weekly  F/nightly  Monthly  Quarterly

Amount per debit: $_________ (please refer to debit agreement below) Start Date: ______ / ______ / ____

 Mastercard

card number: _____________________________ expiry date: ____________ / _________________ cardholder name: _____________________________ regular debit:  Weekly  F/nightly  Monthly  Quarterly Amount per debit: ____________________ (refer to fees chart, left). Start Date: ____ / ____ /____ Signature: _______________________ today’s date: ___ / ___ / ___

Signature: ________________ Date: ___ / ___ /___ Direct Debit Service Agreement This document provides information to you regarding the direct debiting of your account. By signing this direct debit request (DDR) you have authorised us to arrange for funds to be debited from your nominated account. You should refer to the direct debit request and this agreement for the terms of the arrangement between you and us. DrAWing ArrAngementS The ASU will debit amounts instructed by you on a

selected Thursday cycle. If the payment date is a nonbusiness day or public holiday we will process a direct debit to your account on the next business day. cHAngeS tO tHe ArrAngementS Unless you have asked us to change your payment and we have agreed to your request, we will give you at least 14 days notice when changes to our direct debit arrangements are made. This notice will include the new amount, frequency and the next drawing date. A request to stop or alter direct debit arrangements must be made in writing to the ASU and signed by the member.

DiSPUteS If you believe that a drawing has been initiated incorrectly, we encourage you to take the matter up directly with us by contacting our membership department. We undertake to investigate any dispute and advise you of the outcome. Phone: 03 9320 6700 Email: info@ AccOUntS Before sending us your account details, please check with your financial institution that direct debit deductions are allowed on the account you have chosen.

Please make sure you have enough money in your account to cover your obligations to us when due. Your financial institution may charge a fee if the payment cannot be met. You must advise us if the nominated account is transferred or closed. cOnFiDentiALitY The ASU will not release any information provided on this form to any person or institution other than the member who signs the form and the financial institution cited in the form.

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