Members to decide on proposed Optus EPA

Optus has chosen to close out negotiations and formally offer their proposed EPA to employees.

Bargaining ended at a time when the Union felt that certain matters of importance to members remained unresolved.

As part of its offer, Optus has proposed a wage outcome equal to that of the headline CPI rate against base salaries within current classifications. The Union has been unsuccessful in efforts to widen the scope and improve the increase.

A further area of significant contention was around changes to leave arrangements – where a major degree of later-stage talks were focussed.

Some milestone improvements to leave have been secured through these negotiations, including:

  • the introduction of a Connect Day
  • improvements to the duration and scope of domestic violence leave, paid parental and partner leave, bereavement leave and compassionate leave
  • the introduction of blood donation, gender affirmation and fostering and kinship leave

However, Optus has proposed the introduction of harsh new abilities to direct employees to involuntarily avail of annual leave. This would be able to occur when Optus chooses to temporarily shut down an occupational area, including over the Christmas and New Year period, and in any situation where an employee has accrued an annual leave balance of more than 30 days.

And whilst the Union has successfully secured safeguards and limits around its use, particularly around members being able to retain an annual leave balance of 20 days (25 for shift workers) as a consolation, this clause will have an immediate impact on a number of members and their personal circumstances.

As such, the Union has not offered its agreement in-principle to Optus on the proposed EPA, nor can we endorse the offer to our members.

Where to from here?

The current Agreement will continue to apply until such time as a replacement is supported by a majority vote of employees and is approved by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

Eligible employees by now have received instructions on how to participate in the EPA ballot.

Should the majority of employees vote in favour of accepting the Agreement, the proposed EPA will be submitted to the FWC for approval.

To ensure your voice is heard, ensure to cast your vote in the EPA ballot no later than this coming Sunday 20 February.

Should the majority vote no, the Union would be seeking to immediately recommence talks with Optus in an effort to shift their position on a number of outstanding matters of contention.

We need to build collective strength at Optus

When it comes to negotiating successful outcomes in bargaining, the key to success is improving our membership density amongst the workforce. In order to deliver the outcomes members at Optus truly deserve, we must stick together – we must build our collective strength in your Union.

If your colleagues are not yet members, share this message with them and ask them to join the Union today, to ensure we can deliver better outcomes moving forward. They can do so by visiting http://www.cepu.org/join-now/ 

In the meantime, should you require any further information in relation to the above, please contact Branch Official Peter O’Connell or National Assistant Secretary James Perkins on (02) 9893 7822.

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