Bulletin 20 – Bargaining update and notice of Protected Industrial Action – issued 9 September 2022
Since my last bulletin, the parties have met to discuss bargaining matters, and I have invited the Single Bargaining Unit the opportunity to put forward new or revised claims that could be considered for a new Power and Water Enterprise Agreement. In principle agreement has been reached on a number of items however, the Single Bargaining Unit have advised that they are pursuing their outstanding claims.
Notice of Protected Industrial Action
The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) were recently granted approval from the Fair Work Commission to conduct a ballot of their members to take protected industrial action.
The ballot was successful and the ETU have now provided two notices of protected industrial action.
The protected industrial action notified is for:
- “An unlimited number of stoppages of work, including consecutive stoppages of work, for up to and including 1 hour”.
The ETU have notified of four separate stoppages of work for up to and including 1 hour, on Wednesday 14 September 2022, commencing and concluding at the following times:
- 9:00am – 10:00am
- 10:00am – 11:00am
- 11:00am – 12:00pm
- 12:00pm- 13:00pm
- “An unlimited number of indefinite or periodic bans on the performance of work on scheduled RDOs (unless in emergency situations).”
The ETU have notified that this action will commence at 12:00am on Friday 16 September 2022 and will conclude at 11:59pm on Friday 16 September 2022.
Only employees who are members of the ETU can participate in the action. Partaking in protected industrial action by members is voluntary, and eligible employees are not required to participate.
Employees who are ETU members that participate in the stoppage of work will be deducted pay for the period of the stoppage. This is a mandatory requirement of the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act), which prohibits an employer from making payment to an employee for the total duration that the employee engages in the industrial action.
Unprotected Industrial Action
Non ETU members who participate in the industrial action will be taking unprotected industrial action. In accordance with the Act, I am required to deduct salary for unprotected industrial action as follows:
- Where the period of the industrial action is less than 4 hours on that day, the employer must withhold 4 hours payment from the employee; or
- If the period of the industrial action is 4 or more hours on that day, the employer must withhold payment for the total duration of the industrial action.
Employees not participating in the Protected Industrial Action
Employees who are ETU members, or who may be eligible to join the ETU, are asked to contact your manager and advise them if you will, or won’t be, participating in the industrial action. This will enable the Corporation to plan for alternate arrangements during the action periods.
Employees not participating in the protected industrial action may be required to perform duties in areas being impacted by the action.
It is important to note that members of the ETU have a right to take protected industrial action, and they also have a right to not participate. No adverse action must be taken against an employee exercising their right. If you have any concerns these must be immediately reported to your manager.
Important information for employees and members considering taking protected industrial action
While I respect the right of employees to take protected industrial action, I remind employees who are considering taking protected industrial action to be aware of the following:
- Partaking in protected industrial action is voluntary. Members eligible to take action are not required to participate.
- Only employees who are members of the ETU are eligible to participate in protected industrial action.
- Only actions that ETU notify me of may be taken as protected industrial action. Taking other action that is not notified will be unprotected.
- Deductions from salary will be required from union members who engage in work stoppages, for the total duration of stoppage.
- Non-members who participate in any industrial action will be considered to be taking unprotected industrial action and, in accordance with the Act, I am required to deduct a minimum of 4 hours salary for any unprotected industrial action.
Please also note that during a period of industrial action employees remain subject to the code of conduct with regard to appropriate workplace behaviour. This means no bullying, no harassing, and no aggressive behaviours by any employees.
Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process are available on the OCPE Webpage.
Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
9 September 2022
Last updated: 09 September 2022
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