Bulletin 2 - Negotiations commenced - issued 29 March 2022

The first negotiation meeting for a new Territory Generation (T-Gen) Enterprise Agreement was held on Wednesday 23 March 2022. This was a productive meeting and was attended by union representatives and delegates, a self-nominated bargaining representative, and representatives from Territory Generation and my office.

I advised that I am seeking an enterprise agreement that falls within the Northern Territory Public Sector Bargaining Policy 2021- 2024, and outlined a proposal with a wide range of improved conditions of employment.

The unions advised they have formed a Single Bargaining Unit (SBU), and provided preliminary discussions around their log of claims. The SBU advised that they should be in a position to provide a finalised log of claims at our next meeting scheduled for 30 March 2022.

We will work constructively in bargaining negotiations over the coming months to finalise a proposed new agreement, and it is my intention to issue a formal offer to employees no later than 14 July 2022.

It is important you are kept informed on the progress of negotiations as these proposals relate to your employment.

Details of the proposals

Below is an outline of the employer’s proposed conditions:

  • A 4 year agreement with an expiry date of 15 July 2026.
  • $4,000 lump sum payment will be paid after the new agreement has been approved by the Fair Work Commission; and then $2,000 12 months after the expiry of the current agreement and annually thereafter (July 2023, 2024 and 2025).
  • Hosted apprentices to have access to employee assistance programs during their hosted apprenticeship; and recognition of their apprentice service for long service leave (LSL) and parental leave purposes, once employed by T-Gen.
  • Australian Defence Force service to be recognised for prior service for LSL purposes.
  • Increase casual loading from 20% - 25% and include Fair Work Act 2009 casual conversion rights and obligations (sign post).
  • Extra duty allowance improvements (to count on parental leave) and clarification on interaction with availability allowance provisions.
  • Include non-shift working operator maintainer classification in rostered day off clause
  • Replace reference to 'our plan' and with 'performance achievement system' including removal of descriptiveness of process, and review of pay progression in descriptors that are addressed under the pay progression clause.
  • Update pay parity clause in descriptors to include job evaluation only to be undertaken post change in role responsibilities.
  • Commitment to pass on improvements if there are changes to the Wages Policy 2021 – 2024.
  • 3 days Christmas closedown leave, or where part of T-Gen does not closedown, employees will be able to bank the equivalent of 3 working days (eg. 22.5 hours), to be taken within the following 12 months.
  • No involuntary redundancies for term of the agreement (exception will be if an employee has been surplus for 2 years).
  • No reduction in current and future entitlements during term of the new agreement, and general employment conditions won’t be varied without consultation and agreement between the parties.
  • CPI increase will apply for allowances covered by determination 1 of each year.
  • War service provisions to be improved and included in the agreement.
  • The Australian First Nation’s definition of ‘kinship’ will be included in the agreement for the purpose of providing 5 days paid leave for kinship obligations (sorry business).
  • Domestic and family violence leave extended to cover circumstances of sexual violence.
  • Infectious disease leave provisions to note employees may be eligible for workers compensation entitlements in accordance with the Return to Work Act 1986.
  • New provisions supporting a safe and healthy work environment (recognising rest breaks (other than meal breaks) and remote employees and travel for work), to ensure safe work practices.
  • Acknowledging the NTPS Aboriginal Employment and Career Development Strategy for 2021 – 2025 and Employment Instruction Number 15 (special measures) as a key policy initiatives.
  • Work life balance provisions to provide all requests for flexible work to be considered within 21 days, and may only be refused on reasonable business grounds; and only the CEO may decline a request to work from home.
  • Dispute settlement provisions to be improved by allowing disputes regarding refusals for requests for flexible work, or to extend parental leave, to be referred to arbitration.
  • Improved excess travel time provisions to allow TOIL up to the maximum of the band 3.
  • Union delegate leave improved by removing the existing 12 month service requirement to be eligible for paid union delegate training leave.
  • Move leave related by-laws relevant to T-Gen into the enterprise agreement (eg. leave without pay, miscellaneous leave, defence service leave); and update other leave provisions in line with  by-laws/common conditions (eg. jury service, release to attend as a witness, arbitration business).
  • Where operationally viable, and where flexitime or time off in lieu is not available, provide for up to three hours NAIDOC leave per annum to attend NAIDOC march and approved activities.
  • Move foster and kinship carers leave into the enterprise agreement (currently in determination 7 of 2020).
  • Gender transition leave will be introduced to support diversity at work, providing 4 weeks paid leave and 12 months unpaid.
  • Improved paid compassionate leave of 5 days for immediate family and household members (and new provision to cover stillborn child).
  • New compassionate leave entitlement of 3 days paid leave on the death of an employee’s extended family member (eg. aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or first cousin).
  • New miscarriage provision to be covered under compassionate leave – 3 days paid leave.
  • Improve existing miscellaneous leave entitlement to allow an employee to access up to one hours paid leave per annum for mental health screening and cancer screening.
  • Inclusion of 'flexible-lifestyle leave' (currently purchased leave) to support work life balance and improve entitlement to allow purchase of up to 8 weeks leave.
  • Enhance existing entitlements to support family responsibilities for an employee to have the right to return from parental leave on a part-time basis for up to 6 months.
  • New entitlement for pre-natal leave to allow for a pregnant employee, and an employee whose partner is pregnant, access to 8 hours paid leave per pregnancy for the purpose of attending pregnancy-related medical appointments.
  • Paid leave of 2 days for pre-adoption interviews. Paid leave for permanent care order applications and interviews for foster and kinship carers.
  • Superannuation guarantee (SG) payments on parental leave – SG will be doubled for primary care giver; and partner leave eligibility provisions will provide SG for 12 months.
  • Expanded definition of ‘continuous service’ under parental leave will allow employment with other NT Government agencies (eg. NT Police and AAPA) to count for service based entitlements.

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au.

More information

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process will be posted on this OCPE webpage dedicated to Territory Generation Enterprise Agreement Negotiations.

Information on bargaining in general can be obtained on the Fair Work Commission website or you can call their information line on 1300 799 675.

Last updated: 10 May 2022

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