Yesterday’s State Committee of Management meeting devoted much of its time considering the D&D Dispute and the new – but separate – dispute over the Award. The Department is refusing to begin to negotiate the new permanents’ Award while the Union has D&D bans in place. The Department’s stance is hypocritical and illogical – our Union has no Award bans and they won’t talk to us on the Award, but both they and the Government continue to negotiate with us on D&D even though we’ve had 4 months of D&D bans! We’re not copping it.
The Award expired in August of this year and members quite rightly expect a new Award, and wage rises. If they continue to refuse to talk to us then they will leave us with no option but to retaliate with the last weapon we have available to us – withdrawing our labour.
I have today written to the Commissioner demanding an immediate start to Award negotiations, and the Department’s response to our own Award application which they’ve had for over a month now (see elsewhere on this website for a copy of that letter). The State Committee yesterday determined that unless the Department agrees to both of these demands by 1000 hrs this Thursday 2nd December, then a state-wide stop work of all permanent members will be called at 1100 hours that day to meet at No. 1 Station, City of Sydney (and regional centres) to vote on the further direction, and further stop work action, over this dispute.
If the Department is still refusing to discuss the Award by Thursday then a separate notice detailing the arrangements for the stop work action will be faxed to all members’ workplaces and posted on the Union’s website that morning. It is your Award and your next wage rise that they’re holding up. The question for the Commissioner tomorrow is really very simple: agree to discuss the next Award and avoid a general walk out on Thursday, or refuse and face the consequences.
One final point – the Commissioner is continuing to claim that the Department cannot negotiate a new Award while bans are in place, which is nothing short of a bald-faced lie. What the IRC’s Justice Hungerford actually said on 9/11 is this: “Whether the employer engages in discussions whilst bans are continuing is a matter for it.” It doesn’t get much clearer, Commissioner, than that. Stay United!