An update on your EBA's progress at Armaguard
Your union office recently received an email addressed to Armaguard from the Fair Work Commission relating to the Armaguard Queensland Country Branches Clerical and Cash Processing Employees Enterprise Agreement 2017.
Your union raised concerns all throughout the negotiations and right up to the point the agreement was submitted to Fair Work about how this agreement would not pass the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT).
The Commissioner’s email states: “The rates of pay do not appear to be high enough to compensate employees for the following entitlements which appear to be less beneficial than those provided by the Award”-
- Issues around when the payment of overtime occurs.
- Penalty rates after only paid after 3 hours instead of 2.
- Double time on Sundays with a minimum engagement of 2 hours instead of 4 under the Award.
- Overtime between 7 pm and 6 am Monday to Friday paid at time and a half instead of double time after 2 hours.
- No provision for payment of overtime for part-timers despite the award providing for such.
- Casual loading not paid on penalties or loading while the award provides this.
- The Award provides that when employment is terminated or employees have unused TOIL, it gets paid out at overtime rates. The agreement contains no such provision.
- Direction to take annual leave with 2 weeks’ notice. The Award states employees can be directed but only if their leave accrual is greater than 8 weeks and they must retain no less than 6 weeks leave.
- The agreement does not provide a first aid allowance.
- The agreement does not provide a laundry allowance.
- The agreement provides a meal allowance of $12.40. The Award provides a meal allowance of $15.41.
- The agreement does not provide a further meal allowance of $12.12 per occasion as per the Award.
- The agreement stipulates the meal allowance only applies at certain times of the day while the Award states the entitlement occurs once employees are required to work one and a half hours overtime following a shift.
- No provision under the Award that a part-timer can forgo a meal break.
- The agreement states employees are entitled to rest pauses where practicable – the Award states employees MUST be allowed rest breaks.
The Commission stated: “Based on the BOOT issues identified, employees do not appear to be better off overall under the agreement than under the Award. You may wish to provide undertakings in relation to the abovementioned BOOT concerns.”
The issues relating to your agreement are extensive and very serious, had workers not had their union involved ensuring the Commissioner knew about the potential of the agreement not passing the BOOT then workers could very well be getting ripped off.
So where to from here? Your employer now has two choices:
- Give the Commissioner and you as workers undertakings to fix this extensive list of problems by paying people a greater hourly rate and or paying the allowances as they are intended to be paid under the clerical award. Or,
- Begin negotiations again.
Either way; you still have a very important part to play in this. Where workers are union strong, employers are unable to get away with this sort of behaviour. Right now you need to rebuild the strength in your workplace to ensure that if negotiations need to restart you have the power to improve your wages and conditions. What you achieve here is also going to impact on the Armaguard Metro agreement as Armaguard has stated all along that they will virtually copy the Country agreement for the metro agreement. In some ways, this gives workers an even greater capacity to make positive change and we will be talking to your Metro colleagues about what is happening to you and asking that they support you too through getting organised, involved and active!!
Please ensure that you stay connected with your union office and that you talk to your colleagues about being involved. Without the strength of people being union in their workplaces, employers will always continue to drive wages and conditions down. Together you can change this and ensure that it never happens to you again.
For more information and to assist in the plan going forward to organise your workplace send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in Union