The first group of meetings begin today to explain to RAC employees the back payment / underpayment arrangements flowing from the de-annualised hours dispute.
These meetings will occur variously with different shifts across the next week.
Management will address each group of employees for 30 minutes and then Union members will meet with straight after in a separate meeting room.
It is absolutely vital that all Union members come to the Union meetings as scheduled.
When you have the meetings with management they will likely give you some background to the dispute and why we have reached the position we have.
You’ll remember that back in October 2013 management started the process of trying to de-annualise the whole pay system for RAC employees.
Because that had a number of nasty outcomes in it for Union members we fought the management proposal in the Fair Work Commission.
Some aspects of that fight we lost. Some parts of it we won.
The parts of the fight we won in the initial Commission hearing were then appealed by RACV management.
This appeal specifically related to things like what constitutes a normal day of work when you take annual leave and sick leave.
The Union view was always that a normal day is 7.6 hours. As we know RACV management have a different view and that is why they appealed the decision of the Commission.
That appeal was heard by the Full Bench of the Commission earlier this year and we are awaiting that decision at this moment.
That is something that is out of our hands as the Full Bench must make a lengthy and legalistic decision. It will certainly not be rushed.
Having said that, the matter was originally decided a year ago by the first Commission decision. It was RACV that appealed the original decision and the delay has been caused by their appeal.
BACK PAY / UNDERPAYMENTS
One of the things that flowed from the Union taking up the fight against RACV was the fact that employees hadn’t been paid annual leave loading in the annualised hours system.
The Union sought to rectify this and fought hard for our members to ensure it was protected.
This has delivered many Union members with some back payments which you will all be told about in the next few days in your meetings with management.
Remember – management are NOT paying you this money out of the goodness of their hearts.
They are paying you because the Union claimed it on your behalf and because the wider Commission decision on this matter went in favour of the Union.
Management had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table to sort through these underpayments.
Some common ground on how the payments will be made was reached in our discussions with them and this is what you will hear about in the meetings that begin today.
Two things Union members need to be aware of:
- RACV management have said they will NOT pay any of the backpayments until the Full Bench of the Commission hands down its final decision on the de-annualisation dispute (eg. is a normal sick leave or annual leave day 7.6 hours or not)
- RACV management will ask you to sign a Deed of Release to say that you accept the calculations they provide you with and that such calculations are in full and final settlement of all matters. Management will tell you that you have to sign this Deed within 7 days.
Some comments on these two matters….
Firstly RACV could and should pay you the money owing now. They should not wait until the Full Bench of the Commission finalises the other matters. This is YOUR money. But realistically at least you’ll know from today onwards that you have an amount of money coming your way at some stage in the future.
It would be good to have it by Christmas but it is the RACV appeal against the original Commission hearing that is holding up RACV paying the money to you.
Secondly – and most importantly. The Union reps DID NOT AGREE that you should have to decide to accept the offer that management make to you and sign the Deed within 7 days.
That is an outrageous proposition.
We all know there have been a number of problems over the years with some of RACVs record keeping and pay office operations.
Some of you may have queries about what you are told is owed to you. Most of these questions and queries wont be resolved within 7 days.
Also – why the need to tie this up in 7 days when the dispute has been around since October 2013 and is still awaiting a Full Bench of the Commission decision?
The Union strongly recommends that no one signs their respective Deeds at least until they have come to one of the scheduled Union meetings straight after the management meetings.
Make sure you are armed with ALL the information before you agree to anything.
Management will try and use the lure of backpayment dollars to get you to sign the Deed in haste.
There is no need for haste – especially if we suspect some figures may need to be questioned with the pay office.
Come to the Union meetings and we can talk about it amongst ourselves and make an informed decision.
See you in the days ahead.