Talks with Visionstream continued last week – with management having very little to say.
The company’s position on the current pay offer remains – that is: 1.5% to former Silcar employees and 2.5% to Visionstream employees.
Building Code compliance remains a continuing issue with Visionstream maintaining that this is a critical feature for the company.
After some debate, it was confirmed that Visionstream currently hold an exemption from complying with the Code – and their exemption is for a defined period of time. It commenced in October 2018 and remains valid until January 2020.
The company’s concern is that once their exemption expires, they do not know if a further exemption will be provided. We probed them as to why they believed it may not be again granted, given that their operations clearly meet the legislative criteria available for exemption, which has not changed since its introduction.
We believe that no genuine reason exists for Visionstream to expect their application for another exemption to be rejected. Instead, the company insists that their legal advice is that they should have a code compliant agreement to mitigate any future risk of the exemption being rejected.
Your Union made it clear that workers have absolutely no desire to preclude or threaten Visionstream’s ability to tender and win Government contracts, and along with the Union, want to see the Visionstream business flourish. In the event that an application for a future exemption was rejected, we would be in a very different space and we would not be arguing about whether code compliance was a required feature of this EBA.
But the fact is: the exemption is in place right now and there is no reason why it would not be granted again under current legislative criteria – therefore there is no reason why Visionstream should be seeking for employees to sacrifice matters pertaining to their job security by complying with the Code.
In order to break this impasse, the Union has suggested that we proceed with an Agreement that is not Code compliant, and at a later date, should Visionstream’s exemption application be rejected, then at that time, we would not oppose the varying of the Agreement in order to ensure the EBA did become Code compliant. Your Union has offered to provide a written undertaking to this effect to allow this matter to be put to bed.
This proposal is currently being considered by Visionstream.
Travel Allowance reimbursement has continued to be an issue with members being expected to fund upfront expenses for their work-related travel, whilst waiting up to weeks later for reimbursement.
Visionstream claim they are administratively limited in what they can do to improve this, but have agreed to consider placing a one-week cap on reimbursements.
We will keep members updated as bargaining continues. However, in the meantime, should you require any further information, please contact Branch Officials Cade Anderson or Peter O’Connell on (02) 9893 7822 for assistance.