On 8 October CEO Aaron van Egmond circulated an email to all staff advising of an “Annual Shutdown over the Christmas/New Year Period”.
It outlined that staff performing non-essential services would “be required to take three (3) of their annual leave days”. This surprised your ASU delegates who know that no provision existed allowing Council to do this and were shocked at the idea of stopping staff using their accumulated RDOs!
The only right Council has in the current EBA is to require staff with excessive leave balances (over 6 weeks) to take their leave, which could be used for the purposes of an annual shutdown.
ASU Organiser Luke Cherry sent an email to the leadership team on 13 October saying they had no right to do this and proposing Council instead provides those days off without reduction in leave given the additional work and flexibility shown by staff throughout 2020.
We await a formal response from Mr van Egmond. However, the ASU has received information that while Council are still seeking to implement an annual shutdown “as far as practical”, they will no longer be requiring staff to use their annual leave except where they have over 6 weeks accrued. Instead, staff who have less than 6 weeks of accrued leave and do not wish to use it will be able to continue working.
While we encourage providing a break to staff after an unprecedented year which has challenged us all in different ways, this does not allow employers to breach the rights of staff, and we’re disappointed that after working more productively together in recent months to finalise the long-standing industrial dispute Council would have tried this on.
You should receive information soon confirming the new arrangements.