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WHY THE TWU RECOMMENDS AEROCARE WORKERS VOTE “NO” TO THE NEW AGREEMENT

April 27, 2018

At 00.01 Friday April 27th another ballot will open for a new agreement at Aerocare.  The TWU is recommending that you vote “No” to the agreement and we want to make sure you know why.

Since January 2017, the TWU has tried to have meaningful negotiations with Aerocare to ensure you have a fair agreement that provides better job security, better income security and better earning capacity.

But for this to happen, both Aerocare and the TWU have to agree.

WHY CAN’T THE TWU AND AEROCARE AGREE?

The TWU have not been able to reach agreement with Aerocare for one simple reason: we cannot be satisfied that the agreement will ensure you are better off than you would be under the award.

The law says that for any agreement all employees must be better off than they would be under the award. 

The TWU would be breaking industrial laws if we did not ensure that every employee would be better off than they would be on the award.

The TWU have secured some concessions for Aerocare workers through this long negotiating process including:

  • Removal of the uniform deposit

  • Cost of renewing ASIC’s to be reimbursed by the company

  • Initial cost of obtaining ASIC’s to be reimbursed by the Company after 12 months service

  • Removal of “nominated hours” and a commitment to fully rostering all required shifts wherever possible

  • Minimum shift length increased from 3-4 hours as contained in the award

  • Split shifts only at the written request of the employee

  • Pay increases backdated to 20 February 2017

  • Extension of pre-dawn shift allowance to apply from 00.00 to 06.00

  • Removal of car parking contribution

  • $2.50 per hour allowance to a maximum of $15.00 per shift allowance for employees who do not access car parking

  • Domestic Violence Leave

  • 2% increases to ALL rates payable on 1 July 2019, 13 July 2020, 12 July 2021, 12 July 2022

But the real issue is the starting rate of pay for the Agreement.

The company says this rate comprises your award base rate of pay, all award allowances, meal allowances, shift allowances (other than the Aerocare “pre-dawn shift” allowance), annual leave loading and any overtime entitlements to part time employees (PSE’s) between 60 hours and 152 hours in a roster period.

An “all up rate” like this can be done and has been done in many companies and organisations.  It is a simple case of costing out the various entitlements and breaking them down to an hourly rate.  To do that you look at the maximum roster flexibilities allowed under the agreement, compare the payments these flexibilities would attract under the award, add up those additional payments, then divide those into an hourly rate payment.

The TWU did exactly this exercise based on the agreement provided to them by Aerocare.  We shared with Aerocare what we believed the appropriate rates should be and the method of our calculations.

We even excluded additional payments for split shifts and for meal allowances to try and get a sensible conversation started.

The rates we believe are required to ensure all Aerocare workers are better off than the award are up to $8.50 per hour higher than those proposed by Aerocare.

 Aerocare could not identify any errors in the TWU calculations. The TWU asked Aerocare to show us how they calculated their proposed rates so that we could try and find out the reason the rates are so different.

Aerocare continually refuse to do this.

Aerocare also refuse to provide information to the TWU that would allow us a deeper analysis of their rates. Aerocare claims:

  • They cannot print out rosters for us to reference

  • They cannot print out actual hours worked to calculate historical PSE overtime entitlements

  • They cannot printout pay histories to cross reference with employee rostered hours and worked hours

The TWU has not asked for this information to include individual worker details and we have been more than happy to sign any confidentiality documents requested.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF A “YES” VOTE?

If the Agreement is voted up by employees, the TWU will again be obliged to oppose it in the Fair Work Commission.  As you know we had to oppose CA17 as we believed it was below the award. The TWU was found to be correct by the Fair Work Commission, which rejected it because:

  • Split shits were not permissible under the award

  • The Agreement denied overtime payments that were award entitlements

  • Employees were not fairly chosen

After the Agreement was rejected in August 2017, the TWU immediately sought to reopen negotiations with the hope of getting a new agreement and pay rises to all workers as soon as possible.

But Aerocare did not recommence negotiations. Instead it launched five different legal actions, none of which have been finalised.  This has delayed pay increases for Aerocare workers. 

Aerocare then started negotiations with staff for a new Agreement.  At no stage did they advise the TWU they wished to try again.

If a yes vote occurs a pay increase is not just around the corner.  For the reasons outlined above, the agreement will be subject to lengthy legal proceedings and is likely to again fail.  If so, Aerocare are expected to again choose legal actions over renegotiation further delaying any secured pay rises to Aerocare workers.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF A “NO” VOTE?

A “No” vote does two things – firstly it sends a signal to Aerocare to negotiate properly with the TWU for a fair agreement for Aerocare workers.  Secondly it stops Aerocare from trying to have a below award agreement approved by the FWC – a lengthy legal process.  It means the legal stalling tactics that have been used by Aerocare for the past 18 months can’t be used to delay further increases.  They will have to come back to the table immediately and provide full disclosure on rates and rosters so that a legal Agreement can be reached.

The TWU is committed to getting a fair and sustainable Agreement for Aerocare workers.

It has been far too long since Aerocare workers have received fair pay increases that are locked in by law and can’t be taken away by the boss.  By voting “No” you can help us speed the process up and take away Aerocare’s use of expensive lawyers to stall your pay rise.

By voting “No” you are telling Aerocare that it’s time to negotiate a fair Agreement.

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