Authorised by Branch Secretary, Kathrine Nelson
EQUAL WORK EQUAL PAY OUR UNION LEADS THE WAY Magazine of the Australian Services Union Queensland (Services and Northern Administrative) Branch Queensland Services Union
News in brief
do it direct
and keep our union strong
Our union has launched Do It Direct, a campaign in conjunction with ME Bank to encourage members to pay their membership fees by direct debit instead of payroll deduction. Members who are currently paying their union membership via payroll deduction can go in the draw to win an iPad if they switch to paying their membership via direct debit and Do It Direct! We have three iPads to give away. Members that make the switch will have their name go in the draw to win one of the iPads. Direct Debit is a convenient way to organise your union mebership and even better is the 10% discount you get if you make the switch. Go to our union website www.asuqld.asn.au for more details on how to DID.
Member Training Dates
It’s Bursary Time
Financial members of our union with a child who completed Year 12 in 2011 are invited to apply for a bursary. Each year, the boy and girl with the best Student Education Profile (SEP) each receive a bursary of $750. To nominate your child, send a photocopy of your child’s SEP containing their Senior Certficate and their Tertiary Entrance Statement including Overall Position (OP) and Final Position (FP) to: ASU Bursary PO Box 3347 South Brisbane Q 4101 by 10 February 2012
Please contact ASU Connect on 07 3844 5300 for further information
SACS - An Introduction to Trade Union Training - Brisbane 7 and 8 February 2012 GOCs - An Introduction to Trade Union Training - Brisbane 7 and 8 March 2012
CHRISTMAS OFFICE CLOSURE:
Local Government (including BCC) - An Introduction to Trade Union Training - Brisbane 18 and 19 April 2012
Our union office will be closed from midday on the 23 December 2011 and will reopen on Tuesday 3 January 2012. We’d like to wish all of our members a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.
All - An Introduction to Trade Union Training - Mackay 23 and 24 May 2012
FUNERAL INSURANCE REMINDER:
SACS - An Introduction to Trade Union Training - Brisbane 13 and 14 June 2012 Please contact Karen Davis via email email@example.com to register your interest
The Union Organiser www.asuqld.asn.au 32 Peel Street (PO Box 3347) South Brisbane Q 4101 President: Bob Ball Branch Secretary: Kathrine Nelson Assistant Secretary: Jennifer Thomas
Due to an unexpected and unsustainable rise in the cost of the premium of providing the provision of funeral insurance to the majority of our members, we will no longer be offering this service to members. Our union remains committed to investigating services that we can provide to members in addition to our core industrial representation. Rail members please note the Rail Mortality Benefit will continue.
Industrial Industrial Services Coordinator: Neil Henderson Senior Industrial Officers: James Mattner, Rebecca Smith, Tneka Springett, Richard Tarnawski
Lead Negotiator: Justine Moran Regional Coordinator South: David Perry Regional Coordinator North: Margie Dale ASU Connect SACS Coordinator: Catherine Laherty tel: 07 3844 5300 GOC Lead Organiser: Danny Reeves fax: 07 3846 5046 Organisers: Tim Frost, Anna Herzog, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Stuart Maggs, Holly Patterson, Kirk Rostock, ASU Connect Senior Industrial Officer Brendan Sheehan, Zach Walsh Michelle Robertson North Queensland - Townsville Industrial Officers: Organisers: Chiara Lennox, Julianne Mann, Denis Ball, Gerard O'Gorman, Steve Rodgers David Malcolm 485 Flinders St (PO Box 1048) Media and Communications Officer: Townsville Q 4810 Belinda Hogan-Collis Fax: 07 4771 3460
Central Queensland - Rockhampton Organiser: Janet Kelly 110 - 114 Campbell St (PO Box 5160) Red Hill, Rockhampton Q 4701 Fax: 07 4922 3919 Central Queensland - Toowoomba Organisers: Peter Ryan Level 2 Trades Hall, 19A Russell St (PO Box 1619) Toowoomba Q 4350 Fax: 07 4638 9133 Published by the Australian Services Union, Queensland (Services and Northern Administrative) Branch Editor : Kathrine Nelson Printed by : BluePrint Pty Ltd, 07 3879 8430
Secretaries Report by Kath Nelson and Jennifer Thomas We are extremely proud to be members of our union. This pride has to do with the collective determination that is always evident in our membership to achieve what is fair and reasonable in our workplaces. Presently our union has much to be proud of. As many of you would now be aware in November, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that the Federal Government will support community sector workers receiving what we have all been campaigning for: national pay rates equivalent to those we won in our Queensland Pay Equity case in 2009. The Prime Minister not only announced that the Government would support the Queensland rates of pay for all SACS workers, but they would meet their share of the cost - $2 billion dollars over the phase-in-period. This breakthrough for SACS workers is only due to the intensive lobbying, rallying and campaigning of our members. Our union through the Pay Equity Campaign has become a strong and determined force to be reckoned with. While our Equal Pay case is not over yet, this is a spectacular achievement and one we can all take credit for – so thank you for your support and congratulations! Together, we are making history and a successful outcome in Fair Work Australia (FWA) will be a significant achievement in the history of our union. It will improve the wages of SACS workers now and into the future, raising the profile of the important and often invisible work our members do. It’s a proud time. Our union has also led the way in making sure members’ rights and working conditions continue to be protected due to the upcoming Allconnex Water disestablishment. When the initial water distribution split occurred a number of years ago, our union made sure that affected workers were given the job security they deserve by negotiating the South East Queensland Water Reform Workforce Framework. With the physical disestablishment now around the corner, our union has negotiated with the State Government a replacement Framework that will ensure our members’ jobs are protected and they will be treated fairly. The State Government’s decision to put in place the new Framework vindicates the strong stance taken by our union to protect employment and is an emphatic rejection of the Councils’ positions which would have seen employment protection end with the previous Framework at the end of June 2013. Members at Jetstar are to be congratulated for standing collectively and taking their first ever form of protected industrial action in their No Weigh Day. Although, taking action of this kind is always a last resort for any worker, Jetstar members can be proud that their action has meant negotiations are now moving in a more positive fashion. Our members working in local government across Queensland continue to show their collective strength in striving to achieve fair and decent agreements. Although there continues to be struggles with certain Councils, all members should be proud that they have remained steadfast in their approach to negotiations.
Members at Toowoomba and Mackay Regional Councils are to be congratulated for their resolve in voting ‘No’ recently to agreements that their employers put out without our union’s approval. Members working for Whitsunday, Somerset, and Sunshine Coast Regional Councils, Unity Water and Queensland Urban Utilities all have new agreements that see members with wage increases and strengthened employment conditions. The negotiations for new Enterprise Agreements (EAs) for Queensland Rail and the Energy industry have been very lengthy. Members in some areas have had to take steps to take protected industrial action to try and move their matters forward. However, members remain resilient and determined to get agreements which are fair. The processes for the negotiations of new EAs for Ports members in Cairns, Brisbane and Mackay are coming to a speedy end. Due to the hard work of delegates and members, decent wage rises were won and existing conditions protected. Finally, the unprecedented actions by management at Qantas recently to terminate the legitimate action of unions, serves as a warning to us all about the industrial environment that many workers are exposed to. It also serves as a warning of the industrial environment we may be heading into. Our union can become vulnerable to such tactics that try to frustrate the natural and fair industrial process and we must always be aware that employers may choose to use them to cause economic injury and to hold the community to ransom. As many of our members continue in their struggle for fair wages and conditions, with some employers starting to use forms of intimidation, we must collectively continue to act together for what is right and reasonable. With this in mind, there is no better time to be a member of our union. This is the real lesson we can take from the Qantas experience. Our union should be proud of our achievements to date – what we’ve achieved so far is extraordinary, and we’re not done yet! Next year will no doubt throw many challenges at us again. But as we have shown throughout this year we are a strong union. Our collective determination continues to prove we can tackle any challenge. For that, we are proud. We both wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year. Thank-you for being part of our union and we look forward to working with you in 2012.
Local Government- Strength In Numbers With wins for members working for Whitsunday, Somerset and Sunshine Coast Regional Councils recently, members working for Toowoomba, Mackay and Townsville remain collectively strong in their pursuit of fair agreements. TOOWOOMBA: Members at Toowoomba Regional Council have been engaged in a long running industrial campaign in pursuit of a fair deal in their new Enterprise Agreement (EA). Members have been campaigning for 10 months to achieve a fair and equitable pay increase, maintenance of their employment security and current agreement entitlements. The campaign has seen members take numerous rounds of protected industrial action to further claims. The dispute was recently escalated when Council made a decision to put a non union agreement out to a ballot to its staff which proposed to strip away many current agreement and award conditions. Our union ran a Vote No Campaign against the agreement which was strongly supported by the workers, with a 64% majority voting the non union agreement down. Members have resolved to continue the fight to achieve
Three lots of protected industrial action have been taken by members over the course of the negotiations and Council continues to ignore the voices of its employees. Instead, Council took the matter into its own hands recently and without the agreement of our union sent its proposed document to ballot. Our members showed strength, joining with the outdoor workforce to run a united No Vote Campaign. Members rejected Council’s offer in the ballot. With Council not getting the result they wanted, they are now seeking to split the workforce into two agreements. Our union sees this as a divisive tactic and are now seeking the assistance of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC). TOWNSVILLE: Townsville City Council like other Councils during this round of bargaining came to the table with substantial claims to reduce the current conditions for members while offering below CPI increases. These claims included: the introduction of any five in seven working arrangements; paying reduced rates for ordinary time worked on weekends; and the cashing out of annual leave to manage Council’s excessive leave debt. Members overwhelmingly voiced their opposition to both of these
a fair and equitable agreement and have endorsed our union advancing the matter to arbitration should an agreement not be reached. MACKAY: Members at Mackay Regional Council remain stoic in their attempts to obtain a fair agreement. Negotiations have become deadlocked over the terms and conditions of the proposed agreement after eight months. This deadlock has arisen because our union has sought to retain current hours of work conditions to ensure members can achieve work life balance. Our union has also sought a wage increase to help members’ cope with the rising cost pressures associated with living in a mining area. Our union’s agenda clearly clashes with Council’s, who appear to want to reduce costs by making employees work ordinary hours on weekends and nights for reduced penalties and to keep wages low. Members however have spoken out and made clear they hold the “right for their agreement to be gained” by Council when it seeks to introduce any five in seven day working arrangements as a right worth fighting for.
claims. This strong stance taken by members, forced Council to withdraw their claims from the table. However, Council is seeking productivity gains for the three per cent wage increase they are offering. Council are determined they get productivity through the introduction of banking Rostered Days Off (RDOs) for the outside workforce in peak periods and those RDOs then taken in slow periods. This provision is one our members already have but it is not a current condition for the outdoor workforce. Nor is it one the outdoor workforce is keen to embrace. Primarily their concern is how this will be managed at the local level. Members are concerned they will lose control over when they can take their RDO. With the agreement having expired in September 2011 and Council’s wage offer stagnating at three per cent with no back pay, there is little incentive for the outdoor unions to want to consider Council’s claim. Members are currently supporting the outdoor unions so their concerns can be addressed and so that collectively we can campaign for a decent wage outcome greater than three per cent. Like members in other Councils, this round of bargaining may see members forced into taking protected industrial action just to get a fair wage outcome that meets the real cost of living.
Len Lembo Local Government
Sandra Dowman SACS
work at Toowoomba Regional Council where I am the Construction Coordinator for Pipeline Construction works. I have been a member of our union for over 25 years and the reason I joined was to maintain job security and fair working conditions in the workplace. The best parts of my job are planning and coordinating projects, as it gives me a sense of achievement at Council. I have seen some great things achieved by members working collectively together. At the moment we are supporting each other in our campaign for fair conditions and wages. As a delegate, I am the contact point for members that may need assistance and want to be a a part of this collective. I also encourage others to become members, as it’s the members of our union that fight for better conditions and equality within our workplaces.”
work at UnitingCare CommunityReferral for Active Intervention in Beenleigh, where I am the Senior Case Manager. I joined our union when we were about to start bargaining for our next agreement. All staff at our workplace signed up that day, because we believed more voices equals more votes. I have been a member of our union for four years now. The best part of my job is working with families and the most challenging part is having to make on-the- spot decisions. As workplace delegate, I make members aware of what is happening and I also listen to their grievances. I really love attending the quarterly Industry Division Committee meetings, as I can catch up with my fellow delegates from across the State. I also love reading the monthly delegates newsletter as it keeps me up-to-date with what is happening in all areas of our union.”
Henry Kolarski Rail
am a Team Leader at Queensland Rail (QR) National in Acacia Ridge. I have been a member of our union for 34 years now. I decided to join our union because you never know when you will need your union to help you. I think the great team work I see between union members is one of our big acheivements. I became a delegate because I want people to get a fair go in the workplace and I enjoy giving people help when they ask me. The best part of my job is leading a great bunch of people. The most challenging part of my job is when change occurs in the workplace. The biggest challenge in my workplace is the issue of job security and what I say to colleagues that are not members of our union is when the next Enterprise Bargaining round comes around they too might have to negotiate their own pay.”
Allconnex Water Disestablishment - Three Years Protection for Members Employment protection for three years has been guaranteed by the State Government in a new Workforce Framework to apply to the breakup of Allconnex Water. The Framework will ensure that members will transfer to either Gold Coast, Logan and Redland City Councils without having to worry about retrenchment.
consult which is a key aspect of the Framework, should ensure a smooth transition.The consultation procedures will ensure that employees know at the earliest possible time which Council their employment is to be transferred to and the type of structure that will be established for each Council’s water operations.
Our union argued loud and long that the three year employment protection had to apply and it is a credit to the State Government that we were heard over very noisy objections from the Councils.
While many employees will already have a very clear idea which Council their employment will be returning to, there are new employees who have not been previously employed by a Council for whom there is uncertainty.
The next difficult part of the exercise will commence early in the new year as the three Councils design and implement their new water operations. However, Councils obligation to
The procedures will ensure that our members will know what is proposed for them and will have every opportunity to have input into the decision.
The Emma Miller Awards - Energy Worker Emma Maxwell Recognised The Emma Miller Awards were established by the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) to recognise women who have made a significant contribution as an activist in their union. Emma Miller was a leading activist who did much to argue in Queensland for women’s social, political and economic rights. Member Emma Maxwell was honoured with our union’s nomination for the 2011 Emma Miller Award. Emma joined our union in 2004 and is passionate about unionism and the union movement. She worked at Callide Power Station as a graduate engineer in charge of the Unit Operations Engineering and quickly gained knowledge in this area, subsequently ending up in a management stream role working a five day week instead of four. After some time working in this role, Emma wanted to revert to the production stream but there was no formal mechanism in the workplace to allow her to do so. She started lobbying our union to include a clause in the 2005 agreement to allow her to transfer off this stream. Our union was able to negotiate this clause for her and others who wanted to revert to a four day week.
Emma then became more involved with various industrial issues and eventually took on the role of union delegate. Emma is a great support to her fellow union members and has never hesitated to speak out in support of them. Emma is a great asset to our union and to the site Single Bargaining Unit (SBU) with her meticulous approach to keeping information and carefully reading and comprehending all relevant information. She has a well balanced approach to negotiating and bargaining. She has played a major role in the current negotiations and is held in high regard by all members and other members of the SBU. Emma also actively represents members in one-on-one meetings and provides support and advice to them on a regular basis. She is the only female member of the site SBU and fellow members and delegates look to Emma for guidance and advice on all industrial matters. The Awards and dinner on 4 November was hosted by QCU, providing an opportunity to give recognition to the pioneering spirit of Emma Miller and to recognise the passion and role of female unionists.
The Anna Stewart Memorial Project The Legacy, the Privilege and the Pride This year our union nominated members’ Jessie Westaway (left) and Jo Longley (below right) to participate in the annual Anna Stewart Memorial Project from 31 October to 4 November 2011. The Anna Stewart Memorial Project has run since 1984 through most Trades and Labor Councils to increase women’s involvement in the union movement and women from diverse workplaces and occupations experience life at their union and also with other unions. Participants also get the chance to go out to workplaces with organisers to see organising and negotiations first hand. Anna Stewart was a journalist and active Victorian official from 1974 to 1983 and she successfully spear-headed the first blue collar union campaign for maternity leave award provisions. She also amongst other things initiated campaigns that recognised sexual harassment as an industrial issue. For local government member Jo, being a part of the program was a privilege.“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of this program and women unionists are fortunate to have the legacy of Anna Stewart to guide them. I have a greater understanding of the struggles women unionists have had in the past, which now will guide me in the future.”
SACS industry member Jessie said the Anna Stewart Project provided her with a great insight into how the union movement operates.“I got to see how my own union works both at face value and in the background. I met some amazing people at both our union and the NTEU, where I visited and I made some important networks that otherwise would not have been achievable.” “Also having the chance to sit and speak with Kath Nelson Secretary of our union, gave me a great insight into her role. I found her inspiring,” Jessie said. Jo also found the week inspirational.“It was a great week to meet with other passionate and diverse female unionists. The one thing that stood out for me was the dedication and collective spirit of our union. I would recommend any female member of our union to participate in the Anna Stewart Project if they get the chance.” Jessie agrees. “I feel now I have a greater understanding of the value of union, the importance of their presence throughout our nation and the power of the collectiveall of which I didn’t think I could be more passionate about.”
Members in Action - Our Collective Strength
AC TION PRIDE
“Being part of our union gives me strength and a feeling of pride. I know being a part of our union gives all members access to an organisation that supports the basic rights of all Australians for a fair go.”
“I believe the action days have demonstrated we have a voice that will be heard and that we are not against progress but against genuine consultation being taken away from us.”
COLL EC TIVE
Our union has been very active the last couple of months campaigning for fair working rights and conditions across Queensland. Members working at Mackay and Toowoomba Regional Councils have had to resort to taking protected industrial action on a number of occasions in their continued fight for a fair agreement. Members at both Councils have remained stoic and united. Delegate from Toowoomba Regional Council Graham Wotton said being a part of our union throughout negotiations has made him proud.“Being part of our union gives me strength and a feeling of pride. I know being a part of our union gives all members access to an organisation that supports the basic rights of all Australians for a fair go.” Delegate from Mackay Regional Council Kate MacDonald agrees with Graham and believes sometimes taking protected action is necessary.“I believe the action days have demonstrated we have a voice that will be heard and that we are not against progress but against genuine consultation being taken away from us. As workers we want to be respected and for our employer to know that our skills are worth something. A fair outcome is worth fighting for!” Members at Jetstar had great success with their No Weigh Day in November. With negotiations at a standstill members were given no choice but to take their first ever form of protected industrial action, where they stopped weighing any passengers’ excess luggage.
Delegate from Jetstar, Rod Clark said passengers were very supportive of member action on the day. “Many passengers were asking for more background detail, so it gave us the perfect opportunity to fully explain our case. It generated an opportunity to speak with our customers, many of whom are repeat travellers who agreed that from what they observe in their travels, we work very hard.” It also has been a hive of activity for members working in the SACS industry. In response to the Federal Government’s decision to withdraw a Regulation designed to protect our Queensland Pay Equity wage rates for thousands of SACS workers - due on 1 October 2011 – our union organised a Pay Equity Road Show. A delegation of members visited the office of the Federal Treasurer and every ALP Senator in Queensland, presenting the Senator or their representative with a Notice to Remedy Breach and an Overdue Notice on 30 September 2011, which should have been the last day before the Queensland Regulation took effect. SACS delegate Sarah Gleeson said the day was a sign of our collective strength as a union.“The Pay Equity Road Show was an important day because it was a chance for SACS workers to come together. The highlight was spending time at Senator Moore’s office. There were a lot of people and it was exciting to see everyone come together and fight for their entitlements. Plus Senator Moore was very supportive.”
Sector Updates Negotiations Continue at Queensland Rail - Our Union Remains Positive About Outcomes Negotiations continue between members at Queensland Rail (QR) and management for new Enterprise Agreements (EAs). Delegates are collectively staying strong in their pursuit of fair and reasonable agreements, even though there has been some frustration due to the length of the negotiations. After seven months of negotiations the major outstanding issues are:
• QRs refusal to agree to backdate any pay increase back to the end of the last agreements (even though they started negotiations late);
Our union has looked at all possibilities to push the negotiations along as quickly as possible. A number of groups working at QR have also balloted to take Protected Industrial Action. QR has now notified bargaining disputes to Fair Work Australia (FWA) in relation to all of the outstanding sets of negotiations. FWA has convened conferences extending into December to enable conciliation in relation to all outstanding issues. Our union is partaking in these conferences and is hopeful the assessment of FWA will provide an opportunity for QR to improve what is on offer and to finalise these negotiations.
• QRs refusal to offer a pay increase in line with the cost of living increases; and
• Their insistence staff give up a variety of current conditions and entitlements to get a barely acceptable wage increase.
Unfortunately, these are the same major issues that QR have dogged during negotiations from day one. The fact that we are still talking about these issues seven months on clearly demonstrates QRs lack of desire to reach a reasonable outcome within this process.
above: QR Transit Officer members of our union
Members Jobs Saved at QR National In a recent win in QR National, our union was able to save the jobs of 41 staff in the Logistics, Rostering and Resource Allocation areas, based at three different sites in Queensland. The company had proposed to abolish the jobs of members, and redeploy them to other positions. After discussions with members, and some basic research, it quickly became apparent that QR National had failed in its responsibility to properly consult with staff about the proposal. They had clearly failed to provide all
the relevant information to staff, as required in the QR National Enterprise Agreement. Our union approached management in person and in writing on several occasions reminding them of their obligations. Eventually, QR National decided not to proceed with the proposed changes. This result was certainly welcomed by our union and serves as a reminder that we must always keep check that employers abide by the requirements specified in workplace agreements.
Members in North Queensland - Standing Strong Collectively in the Pursuit of Fair Agreements Members of our union working for Jetstar (pictured) and Queensland Health (QHealth) have been showing their collective strength over the last few months in negotiations with their respective employers. Members at Jetstar took their first ever protected industrial action on the 14 October in their fight for a fair and reasonable agreement. Our union held a No Weigh Day where members did not charge excess baggage fees for 24 hours.
within their work areas and this occurred right across the north. Finally negotiations came to a head and the unions were forced to ask the Industrial Relations Commission to help in negotiating an agreement.
Members also wore stickers and information sheets were handed out to passengers explaining what the action was for. The passengers were very happy, for obvious reasons, but also very supportive of our union’s action. Many wished our members every success in their claims. Since this action, significant progress has been made in getting Jetstar to recognise the value of our members’ work. Jetstar has now come up with an offer that the National Negotiating Team can recommend to our members. Members at QHealth also took protected industrial action to improve their wage offer and conditions. Many took on work bans
Ports - Members Working Collectively This year has seen members working at North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) in Brisbane and Mackay working collectively and striving for the best outcomes in their negotiations for a new Enterprise Agreement (EA). Our union is currently involved in the final stages of drafting a new EA in preparation for a ballot. The negotiations culminated in a 3.5% wage increase and a .5% off wages increase and improvements in a number of conditions and entitlements. This negotiation was particularly complicated because it involved the proposal to merge the content of three existing agreements and five awards into a single document. Through the dedicated effort of delegates at the negotiating table a fair and reasonable outcome was achieved. Members working at Ports North in Cairns also had a very significant win recently when they voted overwhelmingly to accept the EA. The agreement is with Fair Work Australia (FWA) for approval. This was a welcome outcome for members at Ports North given the negotiations started in late 2010. However, our union remained focussed and achieved the best possible outcome in terms of wages and conditions. In early 2012, not long after the dust has settled on these two new EAs, our members at the Gladstone Port will have to start thinking about their new EA. Their exisiting agreement expires next October, so preliminary work will begin soon in preparation for those negotiations.
However, before moving into arbitration, Q Health made a significantly increased offer which our union was prepared to give In Principle Agreement (IPA) to. The IPA ensures our members will have access to back pay. There are cost initiatives to be discussed attached to this offer, however, the achievement of this goal or not, will not affect the payment of wage rises. Our union has consulted widely with members on the revised offer. Our union is united in our desire to reach a fair deal for our members in North Queensland. For improved outcomes, it is without doubt, our union’s ability to stand and fight collectively that we hope to achieve this.
Airports - Members Preparing Their Log of Claims Our union is preparing for the Cairns and Mackay Airport Enterprise Bargaining process and we are currently collating members’ responses from their respective surveys. In addition to surveying members, our union has held meetings at both airports to gauge the types of issues members support and consider important items to include in their log of claims. It is timely to remember that our union was instrumental in securing the Airport Transfer Framework in late 2008 for members that provided for Incentive Transfer Payments of 25 per cent of the employees base salary paid as a one-off lump sum, wage increases at 13.5 per cent over three years, Job Security, Superannuation with conditions and entitlements being maintained or improved at the time of transfer. The challenge ahead for our union is to ensure the integrity of the current agreements are maintained whilst recognising the airport owners industrial relations agenda is unknown at this stage. Regardless, we need to highlight that it is the conditions contained in agreements that ensures highly skilled employees continue delivering the services required by customers and ultimately growing company profits. Our union expects that preliminary bargaining discussions will occur with management representatives this month and from that point our union will advance our log of claims once endorsed by members.
Industrial Matters Bottom Pincher Gets His Job Back T’is the season to be jolly, was the screamer but moderation is the key headline in the in staying safe and out Tasmanian Mercury Newspaper after of trouble at Christmas the ASU managed to gain reinstatement work functions. for a member who had over indulged in drink and groped a female colleague by grasping/pinching her bottom at a work social function.
Workplace parties at Christmas time have a sufficient connection with the employment relationship to bring any incidents within the scope of the employer’s authority to act.
As the party season approaches, it is worth contemplating that no one wants their career and job to be the casualty of a good time at the office.
The employer may still wish to question involved employees to ascertain what occurred, because it may be having an impact in the workplace. For example people may be refusing to speak to each other because of an incident or there may be malicious gossip circulating.
For the member in Tasmania, an alcohol fuelled indiscretion had significant and long term consequences. It cost him the stress of major proceedings in the Industrial Relations Commission and four or five months pay. It caused the victim significant trauma and upset.
There are fine lines to be drawn. For example, if employees leave the employer Christmas party and party on, the connection to work may be broken. It is however, a fine line. Just because something occurs when the connection to employment may have ended, for example when employees leave the function to party on elsewhere or after the “official” party is over, does not end the involvement of the employer.
When this occurs, an employee has an obligation to answer the employer’s questions and to answer them honestly, even when the issues raised may be quite intimate and arguably none of the employer’s business.
The definition of sexual harassment is simple and easily understood. Generally it involves unsolicited acts, demands or requests of a sexual nature or comments or conduct of a sexual nature, which are unwelcome.
Moderation is the key both for the employee in deciding how much to drink and for the employer in choosing how much and what sort of alcohol to provide.
Sexual harassment is a serious matter. Being under the influence of alcohol is not a defence. Sexual harassment in the workplace will generally result in very severe disciplinary action including in many cases, termination of employment.
A prudent employer will ensure that plenty of non/low alcohol drinks are available and will limit the quantity of free/low cost drink available generally. Setting the time for an event and ensuring a clear finish time will also reduce the potential for a work function to turn into a long and possibly costly session.
Workers’ Compensation for an Injury Sustained Over a Period of Time Most workers know that they can apply for workers’ compensation if they are injured at work or on a journey between their workplace and home. However, we have found that some workers have not been properly informed of their right to claim workers’ compensation for an injury which has developed over a period of time (an “OPT” injury). Some common examples of OPT injuries include: • A process worker develops tennis elbow from repetitive arm movements; • A telephone operator develops neck strain as a result of sustained posture; and
nature). Work does not have to be the only cause of the injury and could be an aggravation of a pre-existing condition. The cause of your injury is a medical question to be addressed by a doctor. You must apply for workers’ compensation within six months of becoming entitled to it but you may miss out on some compensation if you wait more than 20 days after the injury becomes apparent. Often these time limits do not start to run until your injury has been diagnosed by a doctor, but this is not always the case and we would recommend that you see a doctor and lodge an application as soon as possible after you notice symptoms.
• An employee who is regularly bullied by a co-worker develops a stress condition;
Hall Payne Lawyers can assist you with the application process and your rights once WorkCover (or your employer if they are self-insured) has made a decision on your claim.
• Contact dermatitis, sun-related skin cancer, hearing loss, asbestos disease and other injuries that can arise out of sustained exposure to certain conditions.
We can also consider whether there may be a basis for a common law claim. Please contact our union for a referral if you have any questions regarding your rights in these matters.
Work-related injuries can develop over days, months or years and the symptoms may become apparent gradually or suddenly. The first time you notice the symptoms might not be at work.
Contact our union at ASU Connect on (07) 3844 5300 for a referral to Hall Payne Lawyers.
To qualify for workers’ compensation you must establish that work was a significant contributing factor to the injury (although there are additional considerations if your injury is psychological in
Townsville Week of Action Provides Great Platform for Values Campaign Our union joined with other unions for the Queensland Council of Union’s (QCU) Week of Action in Townsville during October. The event was a huge success with over 200 workers signing up to unions and the Charter for Working Queenslanders campaign during the week. The success of the week has set the stage for regional Queensland to play a key role in the Charter campaign in the coming months. Workers from across Townsville – including our members from Ergon Energy, Townsville City Council, Queensland Health and James Cook University joined together to learn about the Charter values. Secretary Kath Nelson addressed members at these meetings and spoke with them over the course of the week about the Charter values. Our union also attended a delegates training day relating to the Charter on 5 October. The Branch Executive of our union have considered the Charter and have resolved that the values and ideas set out within the Charter are wholly consitent with the values, ideals, policy and objects of our union. Our Branch Executive also resolved to formally adopt and promote to members ideals and values that are consistent with those identified in the Charter as they are in the best iterests of members and working people generally. Secretary Kath Nelson and Assistant Secretary Jennifer Thomas together with members of our union’s Branch Executive will meet with various State election candidates in the coming months to assess their commitment to the values and policies that will benefit our members. Information about their responses will be provided to our members. above: members at the Delegate Training for the Charter for Working Queenslanders, in Cairns, 17 November 2011
Our union is calling on state election candidates to commit to values that benefit our members.
above: members from Ergon Energy listen to Secretary Kath Nelson discuss the values of the Charter for Queenslanders in Townsville, November 2011
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