You will be aware that as a result of a number of administrative errors made by Toll, the Fair Work Commission was not able to approve the 2015 Toll IPEC Clerical and Administrative Agreement. Some members may also be aware that as a consequence of these administrative errors, the ASU had expressed concern that not all members were provided adequate opportunity to cast an informed vote.
In so far as the latter may have been the case, the ASU was hesitant to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Toll. The MOU would have been used to make the 2015 Agreement enforceable without going through the usual Fair Work Process.
Negotiations to reopen
Given the above, and given also some concern amongst employees at Dandenong that without consent they would be dragged into the process, it would seem that the most appropriate way forward for all parties is to begin the process afresh. Toll proposes to communicate to employees in the next few weeks that negotiations are to recommence.
A new Agreement? On what terms?
Toll have advised they do not anticipate much change from the current proposed Agreement to come out of the new negotiations. The parties must however go through all of the proper steps as prescribed by the Fair Work Commission to ensure the new agreement can be approved.
Toll have continued to mount the argument that they are losing money.
Toll have further advised that their management staff have not received wage increases for the last two years.
The proposed 2015 Agreement locked in reasonable wage increases for ASU members. In the private sector generally, wage increases are at 20 year lows. The proposed 2015 Agreement provided an average 3% increase across three years. On this basis the ASU was prepared to recommend the Agreement to its members.
However, some members raised concerns about the loss of an attendance incentive. This matter, along with other issues around leave may be raised during these new negotiations.
Toll threatens employees
Toll has informed the ASU of the communications it expects to issue to employees. In those communications, Toll seems to indicate that there may be consequences should Toll employees vote down a proposed Agreement. Toll seems to be suggesting that it may subtract from employee wages the salary increase paid at Christmas and then, on that basis, seek to recover money paid to employees since Christmas.
The ASU thinks it is outrageous to pressure employees into voting up an Agreement. We will be demanding that Toll reconsider its position.