Since our ASU bulletin sent out last week, the latest CPI figures have now been released with Hobart CPI is sitting at 3%. When bargaining first commenced in May 2018, Hobart CPI sat at 2.4% but even back then the Business refused to provide you with a wage increase to keep up with the cost of living! A testament as to how much the Business values its employees, one well and truly reflected in the latest results from the recent survey conducted by the ASU and Employee Bargaining Representatives.
An editorial published in the Advocate on 31 January 2019 titled “Cost of Living Rise Bad News” states:
“An increase in inflation is bad news for most of us. But it’s particularly bad if your wages aren’t keeping up. The latest figures have seen Hobart’s inflation figure hit 3 per cent mark in the year to December.
It basically means unless you’re getting 3% more in the pay packet, or however you earn a dollar, then you’re literally going backwards financially over time.”
Aurora Energy employees have now literally been going backwards since your 2015 Enterprise Agreement. A fact that Aurora Management keeps insisting is not true and that “employees just need to adjust their way of living”.
During bargaining for TasNetworks’ Enterprise Agreement, employees also voted NO to their proposed agreement twice. The Agreement bargaining then occurred through facilitated bargaining, in front of a Commissioner at the Fair Work Commission, where agreement was reached to provide an annual wage increase of 2% or Hobart CPI to a cap of 3%, whichever is the greater. This means that TasNetwork employees are keeping up with the cost of living!
In the 3 options put out by the Business last week, Management has not only removed the previously agreed extra week of Short Paid Parental Leave, but has also removed the previously negotiated and agreed extra emergency services leave which was to provide for times of emergency such as the current bushfire situation!! Again the Business is taking away from its employees to give you a small (once tax is taken out) one-off amount as a “sign-on bonus”. Don’t be fooled by what this really is! They are dangling a baby carrot to get a yes vote while putting out an offer worse than the first two which you voted down!
While the 3rd option of a 4 year Agreement with a $800 (pre-tax) carrot looks very enticing, again the ASU believes that the Business is not being fair, in not only taking away previously negotiated improvements, but disadvantaging a portion of the workforce. They are playing their employees off against each other! Employees who are currently on Total Employment Cost Packages (TEC) will be disadvantaged if a 4 year agreement is voted up. Total Employment Cost is the sum of all cash and non-cash benefits (including but not limited to: wages, annual leave loading and superannuation) that an employee receives as remuneration. Under Government Legislation, the Superannuation Contribution Guarantee (SCG) which is currently 9.5% is set to increase in 2021. The Business has advised that it would not add this SCG increase onto the TEC (which would increase the total remuneration) but instead absorb it within the Total Employment Cost so that the total remuneration figure remains the same. This means that take home pay for these employees would decrease. During initial negotiations, when a 4 year agreement was being proposed, we asked the Business to agree to increase the TEC in line with the Superannuation increase but again they refused!
While $800 (before tax) is a large amount it is only a one-off payment and does not accumulate on your base wage, so yet again you will not be keeping up with the cost of living! If a 4 year agreement is implemented you could potentially be looking at being 7 years behind! The ASU is also concerned as to why the Business is pushing for a 4 year agreement. The jump between the $350.00 one-off payment with a 3 year agreement to an $800 on-off payment for a 4 year agreement, with no other changes, is highly suspicious! What are they not telling us!
Additionally, the new proposed commitment clause for a framework for transitioning temporary employees to permanent states: “Aurora commits to implementing a framework that will provide for the circumstances in which temporary employees will be transitioned into permanent employment during the life of this Enterprise Agreement” and is hardly worth the paper it is written on. It merely commits the Business to implementing a framework. It does not state at what length of service conversion is available (1 year, 2 years, 3 years?) or whether the Business has an obligation to offer or is only on application by the Employee. Also “during the life of this Enterprise Agreement” is an uncertain period of time. Again meaningless platitudes. Insecure work is a major concern for employees at Aurora Energy, with most employees not being employed on a permanent basis. Management previously promised a review of all positions across the business with a view to offering permanency to the extremely high percentage of employees currently in insecure work. This was meant to occur in early September! We have continuously advised management during negotiations that this is a priority for employees!
Another option the ASU provided to management, which would be of no cost to the Business (but in fact save them money) would be to update their Union Delegate Training Clause to allow Union Delegates to attend training provided by the Union (free of charge). Management refuses to entertain this idea as they are “philosophically opposed to Unions”.
The ASU believes that each of the 3 options presently being proposed by the Business are not at all to your advantage. The ASU encourages you not to accept any of these sub standard options. We urge you to please carefully consider the fact that yet again the Business hasn’t listened and is trying to put out an offer with little or no change to the 2 previously voted down offers!
For further information please contact:
ASU Organiser Karen Tantari | 0472 512 484 | firstname.lastname@example.org