Following on from the members meeting yesterday and subsequent discussions following requests from some members. The ASU notified ERL management this morning that the parties were in dispute.
In this notification we relied on the following provisions of the Dispute Prevention and Settlement Procedure as provided for in section 10 of the Enterprise Agreement; If a dispute arises about this agreement, the National Employment Standards or any other work-related matter (including a dispute about whether a workplace right has been breached) the parties to this dispute will attempt to resolve the dispute at the workplace level. This includes a dispute or grievance about whether an employer had reasonable grounds to refuse a request for flexible working conditions or an application to extend unpaid parental leave.
We also invoked point 9 of this procedure as follows; While these procedures are being followed, both parties agree that on a ‘without prejudice’ basis there will be no change to existing work or management practices or procedures so that the status quo is maintained.
What this provision means is, with a dispute having formally been notified, ERL management is required to not proceed with the reduced hours and pay until such time as the dispute reaches resolution.
We advised management that it was the ASU’s preference to resolve this issue in a less formal manner than by seeking the assistance of the Fair Work Commission.
Following this David Tozer from Meerkin and Apel (ERL’s legal counsel) contacted the ASU seeking urgent discussions, these discussions occurred at 1:00pm today.
In these discussions, it was proposed that if the ERL financial position was, as they say, the ERL board should meet with the ASU and to provide their financial details in order to demonstrate if there is any financial basis to the proposed action.
This proposal was put to them as the correspondence we received from one of the member Councils, when asked if they had reduced funding to ERL, was for the ASU to ask the ERL CEO or the ERL board. This request was however rejected when asked.
Immediately after this meeting David Tozer contacted the ASU again advising ERL had decided to make an application to the Fair Work Commission to have the matter dealt with and would be requesting an urgent listing.
We will continue to keep members informed as this matter progresses.