Professionals Australia members, alongside 5 other state unions, have been involved in negotiations with Water Corporation (WC) in Western Australia since September 2017 over the new staff agreement.
The joint unions and WC have reached in-principle agreement (subject to drafting) for a replacement Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, with a proposed operational date of 1st April 2018.
The new agreement was voted on by 78% of staff, with an 85% yes vote on the new agreement.
How did we get here?
Water Corporation’s original agreement draft had over 400 changes to the former one, 39 major changes and half of the old clauses to be moved to policy or cut entirely. Water Corporation had been actively advertising this document on the WC intranet which caused major concerns and confusion for WC employees. The joint unions rejected this document in its entirety.
Furthermore, Professionals Australia has raised serious concerns about its intention and the actions of Water Corporation in advertising this proposed agreement.
Water Corporation’s original proposals included:
- Restrict and Condense RDO’s, Flexi-time and Flexible Working Arrangements,
- Freeze Wages and offer $1000 lump sum payments per annum to Wages & Trades employees, and $1000 Bonus to Salaried employees subject to achieving an ‘effective’ performance rating,
- Removal of Performance Bonuses, and suspension of Performance –Based Pay Increments,
- 2 year and 3 month agreement – this means your extra payment will not be received until 30 June 2019,
- Remove Trades Table 2 – effectively reducing affected employees’ wages by 25%,
- Removal of All Appendices in a move to modify and reduce existing conditions for affected members.
Individual departments were offered pay rises in the hopes that they would vote yes to the agreement, however members from all unions committed to voting down the agreement if Water Corporation had put this agreement out to a staff vote. This was achieved through the combined efforts of the joint unions.
Delegates from the joint unions held numerous meetings with staff at all levels of Water Corporation during the EBA process, including meetings with management to put forward their concerns with the agreement and to maintain their conditions of employment and ensure they are protected for the next few years.
What’s in the new agreement?
The agreement that has been accepted contains a number of conditions to help protect members’ workplace rights. We have successfully fought to maintain conditions that were previously under threat; including but not limited to:
- Retention of all operating Appendices including retention of the current Shift-work clause
- Retention of Trades Table 2
- Retention of all Allowances
Further to this, we successfully fought to have the following key improvements:
- 3 Year Terms
- Wages increase of $1000 on base salary of all employees including all level 7’s and CLC 7’s underpinned by the EA (NOT subject to performance) for every year of the agreement starting from the 1st of April 2018, subsequent payments on 1st April 2019 & 1st April 2020
- Superannuation Co-Contribution enshrined in the EBA and open to all regular super funds (9.5% base rates)
- 10 days paid Domestic Violence Leave
This task was won by members and non-members standing together as a joint front, alongside members of the AWU, ETU, AMWU, CPSU and United Voice, to ensure that all staff got the same outcomes.
In such a tough economic climate, where other agreements are being cancelled or going backwards, this is a massive achievement, and one which members, delegates and staff of the joint unions can be proud of.
If your workplace is due for a new agreement, get in touch with your local Professionals Australia representatives. They may be able to assist your workplace in ensuring your rights at work are protected.
- Queensland: infoQLD@professionalsaustralia.org.au
- New South Wales: infoNSW@professionalsaustralia.org.au
- Victoria: infoVic@professionalsaustralia.org.au
- South Australia: infoSA@professionalsaustralia.org.au
- Tasmania: infoTAS@professionalsaustralia.org.au
- Western Australia: infoWA@professionalsaustralia.org.au
- Australian Capital Territory: infoACT@professionalsaustralia.org.au
- Northern Territory: infoSA@professionalsaustralia.org.au