I write to tell you that, as of yesterday, we have now made massive progress in our efforts to find a settlement to the long running RAC EBA dispute.
After nine rounds of industrial action and six separate Commission hearings Commissioner Roe at the Fair Work Commission issued a statement which sets out the way forward for the parties.
Commissioner Roe’s statement specifically states that:
1. A new 3 year agreement should now be finalised
2. That wage increases of 2.5% per annum in each of the 3 years should prevail
3. That the offsets for management in return for those wage increases will be limited to:
i. Grandfathering of the redundancy clause for all current employees
ii. Removal of the training allowance ($10 currently applies occasionally to one employee)
iii. Clarification of use of stat decs for sick leave in excess of 3 days
iv. Side by side call coaching with an agreed set of new rules for its use
4. That RACV will remove its threat to scale tea breaks back to 10 minutes instead of the traditional 15 minutes. The 15 minutes must now be written into the new EBA to protect it for all employees in the future.
In addition to all of this the ASU has sought to have the Commission determine a process for dealing with the management proposal to remove and alter the annualised hours pay system that has operated at the RACV for decades.
Commissioner Roe has set out a series of steps to deal with the Annualised Hours matter. Firstly, and most significantly, there will be no change to any part of the system as a minimum before 1 May, 2014.
In the time between now and 1 May the Commissioner will continue to assist the parties in a series of Conferences to find a solution to this matter.
WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN?
This is an excellent outcome in real terms for ASU members.
Let’s look at the whole picture:
Management initially wanted massive offsets.
Management wanted Mercer – YOU stood your ground and fought it off AGAIN
When they finally realised that Mercer was unpopular they offered a meagre 1.6% wage increase – YOU refused to accept that inferior wage increase
Management wanted to strip shift workers of their paid 20 minute break effectively meaning they’d have to work an extra 100 minutes a week – YOU stood your ground and fought it off in its entirety
Management wanted to scale the redundancy package back from 74 weeks to 48 weeks for all employees – YOU stood your ground and protected the traditional package for current employees
Management wanted to strip you of your 15 minute tea breaks and scale them back to 10 minutes – YOU stood your ground, YOU refused to back down and we have now won the 15 minute tea break wording which will be written into the new EBA to protect it forever!
Management wanted to reduce the part time / full time ratio of employees in the RAC – YOU stood your ground and fought it off
Management wanted to introduce a system of Side by Side call coaching without regulation – YOU insisted that if it is going to operate it must have some rules for its operation. YOU won.
In the middle of the EBA dispute management made clear its intention to change the Annualised Hours pay system. This caused great concern that a change without regard for a range of historical reasons would be to the detriment of ASU members.
By YOU taking decisive and positive action on this matter part of the Commissioner’s statement now sets out a regulated process for dealing with the dispute over the Annualised Hours pay system. This is an excellent outcome under the circumstances and allows all parties to have the continued assistance of the Commission on what will be some large areas of dispute on this matter.
The wage increase of 2.5% per annum was a matter of very long and protracted discussion at the Commission. Management initially had just 2.25% on the table. ASU reps worked their backsides off to get it to 2.5%.
It falls short of the 3% we were demanding but I think most members understand the importance of the main game here and that was to hold on to YOUR hard won and long standing terms and conditions. We had to stand our ground and not allow for tea breaks to be stripped away, redundancy packages to be slashed by 33% or the introduction of the hugely unpopular and unwanted Mercer pay system.
Commissioner Roe has made it clear that the parties have negotiated the daylight out of all matters in dispute through a number of Conferences before him and that it is now time for the matters set out in his statement to be considered for final agreement.
He has asked the parties to recommend the finalisation of the EBA on these terms to all employees.
THE PROCESS FROM HERE
Week beginning Monday 3 February, 2014
– Finalise all draft wording for the new EBA to reflect all of the above mentioned changes
Week beginning Monday 10 February, 2014
– ASU will meet with all members to consider the document and speak further about the process we have just been through in the Commission to ensure everyone has all the information and can ask questions etc.
Week beginning Monday 17 February, 2014
– Under the rules of the Commission you must then formally receive a copy of the proposed new EBA and have 7 day period to read and consider it before a ballot is conducted for you to accept or reject the EBA
Week beginning Monday 24 February, 2014
– Ballot will be conducted on the acceptance of the new EBA. This is again in line with the rules of the Commission.
I have attached the Commissioners statement for all Union members to read so that you have the full picture.
I want to say a number of things before closing.
Firstly, I have said before but I’ll never stop saying it, your four delegates are just the most determined, hard working never say die group of delegates that I have had the pleasure of working with in the 26 years I’ve been at the ASU. I can’t find enough words of praise for them. They are magnificent and you should all be very proud of them.
Secondly after such a hard slog and a long and protracted campaign we have to now consider whether it’s time to do the deal. Based on all of the discussions in the Commission I am of the view that it may well be time to finalise matters as set out above. Whilst the deal is not quite 100% of everything we wanted it is pretty good – especially given that we fought off all of the particularly nasty attacks on your conditions of employment.
It was always our major goal to “protect what we’ve got”. You have not only achieved that but, in some areas such as the 15 minute tea breaks, enhanced what previously existed.
We have also got a very helpful process for dealing with the Annualised Hours matter that has caused members great concern. It is very important that we have the Commission involvement in this matter and we have now secured a process for this to occur over the coming months.
Lastly I want to say how proud I am of all of YOU – the magnificent, fighting and wonderfully decent Union members at the RACV RAC. Whilst there is still a fair bit of work to do to get this matter to a point of finalisation it is the hard work, dedication and belief in the Union that you have all demonstrated that has safe guarded your terms and conditions of employment for now and well into the future.
I don’t have enough words of praise to heap upon you. Simply put you have been magnificent.
Stay tuned for more news in the coming days.