On 14th December ASU delegates and officials met with Virgin Airports GCC and industrial relations management for one of the regular Ground Crew Agreement Implementation Committee meetings. There was lots on the agenda and this bulletin provides a short summary of what was discussed.
Follow up on rostering standards
Our agreement provides in clause 16 that Virgin will consult with the ASU about roster standards, a new rostering system and how flexible arrangements for team members can be accommodated. Management say they are also consulting local workplace consultative committees (WPCC’s) about these issues too.
To this end management have tabled revised policies dealing with annual leave and DILs, personal leave and shift swaps and shift giveaways for Ground Operations.
They say that each of these policies is under review. As we know they have already reviewed and changed the jobshare policy.
Initially they wanted to implement the “new” policies by 21st December 2015 which we have told them is unrealistic. We are waiting for their responses to our suggestions on a range of issues in these policies so we do not expect implementation by 21 December 2015, we expect some time in the New Year.
We have requested the fatigue risk management guidelines for Ground Operations as we believe these are critical to rostering practices and clearly envisage by the EBA as being part of our discussion. We also think rostering practice needs to be carefully examined.
Rostering optimisation trial
As reported in our last bulletin an additional 6 hour shift is being added to full time employees in each 9 weeks roster cycle. This is known as the roster optimisation trial. It commences on 4 January 2016 and we will meet again mid 2016 to assess its operation.
VA health connect
Management have advised that Ground Operations is piloting a new way for staff to notify their sick leave. This will be to an outside organisation – Direct Health Solutions (DHS). This will commence on 1 February 2016.
We understand the DHS personnel who will be contactable by phone will be registered nurses but we note you have no obligation other than to tell them you are sick and away from work. We have asked for more details about the procedures with DHS and will keep you posted. We do not think it is anyone’s interest for this service to be a substitute for your own personal medical advice.
Clause 29 of the agreement provides for a recognition day to be credited each December to be used in the 12 months following their credit.
Virgin says that only 48% of Guest Services team members with recognition days used the day credited back in December 2014 during the 12 months to December 2015.
This is a reminder to remember to use your recognition day that has been credited this month. You have until December 2016 to use it. It is like a day in lieu. If you have trouble accessing the day talk to your ASU delegate. This is a workplace benefit which we urge you to utilise.
The ASU recently found that Virgin Australia applied to get a licence to operate their workers compensation under the Comcare Scheme. Currently Virgin’s workers compensation operates under each state based scheme regulated by state legislation. Comcare is a scheme that operates for the Commonwealth Government employees and a very small number of private companies. It is a different scheme and in some aspects not as good as the state schemes.
At our meeting, Virgin management told us that there were no plans to move workers compensation to Comcare but it was unclear why they made this application to Comcare. We will be watching this very carefully as should you.
Drug & alcohol testing
The ASU will be participating in a meeting with other unions covered by the Australian Council of Trade Unions about new Drug & Alcohol Testing Procedures Virgin Australia wants to introduce. The company says they want to introduce companywide random testing – we know no more than this and await the meeting in 2016. We will keep you posted.