Plans are underway to use the negotiations for the next Enterprise Agreement at ANSTO as leverage for an organising campaign to grow our membership on site. The current Agreement nominally expires on 31 December 2014 and bargaining was due to start eight months prior to this. However, no meetings are currently scheduled. Enquiries of ANSTO indicate that the organisation does not yet have approval for its bargaining position and indeed has yet to approach the Minister for approval. ANSTO management has advised unions that they expect to start negotiations with us in August. However meetings won’t start until ANSTO has the necessary Ministerial approval. At this stage we have no indication of what the employer’s position will be, nor which conditions it may seek to reduce in return for a pay increase. Our position will be to maintain all conditions and achieve a modest pay increase.
ANSTO took a hit of $27.6 million in the recent federal budget and the organisation has yet to advise how it will address this reduction in funds. Previous budget cuts have resulted in job cuts with bargaining negotiations preceded by discussions with unions about the number of staff redundancies. We hope this will not be the case this round. Current restructuring to outsource a particular function, which does not impact on Professionals Australia jobs, has had management state to the unions that the purpose is not to cut jobs, but to cut costs. Management believes the private sector can perform the function more cheaply and efficiently. They intend to redeploy current staff.
The good news is that discussion with ANSTO about our organising plan has met with a positive response. As ANSTO has stringent security procedures, we needed to establish agreement that an organiser can come on site and move around to approach prospective members. It appears that, provided we abide by the normal procedures, to provide advance notice and have the organiser escorted by a delegate at all times, there will be no restrictions placed on where we can meet members or prospective members, nor the routes we take about the site. It is our intention to focus our organising campaign on growth areas in ANSTO. Professionals Australia in consultation with members is currently establishing which areas these will be.
Anna Funnell, Senior Industrial Officer, Professionals Australia
– See more at: http://www.professionalsaustralia.org.au/groups/scientists/advocacy/?id=3218#sthash.bBVEBKD7.dpuf