The Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review decision bringing a 3.3 per cent pay increase to employees on state-copied awards has a major impact on the enterprise agreement negotiations.
It seems WaterNSW did not see it coming even though the Annual Wage Review comes out about this time each year.
The biggest test the Fair Work Commission decision presents to the company is about the real commitment of WaterNSW to the principles of fairness and equity applying to all employees.
On 28 June 2017, the CEO wrote to the unions saying:
[WaterNSW] does not consider it appropriate or necessary to apply any consistent pay increase to all employees and will only apply increases so as to meet its legal obligations”.
A copy of the CEO’s letter is attached here.
All unions continue to ask WaterNSW to pass on the 3.3 per cent pay increase to all WaterNSW employees. It is our view that the 3.3 per cent pay increase under the Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review applies directly to former DPI and SCA employees. As a matter of industrial fairness, the increase should be applied to all employees.
A copy of our letter in response is attached here.
Last week’s enterprise agreement negotiations took up about a day instead of the three days that had been scheduled by WaterNSW.
One of the key proposals put forward by WaterNSW for aligning salaries was to present a pay and classification structure under which around 40 people would have their pay indefinitely frozen.
This group, according to WaterNSW, earn at least $10K per annum above what WaterNSW wants to pay for their work.
Another 100-plus employees would also have their pay frozen from between one and four years on our estimates.
This is not our idea of fairness and equity.
The unions proposed in response that all employees are translated across by salary to the new pay and classification structure.
If WaterNSW is in a pickle over the Annual Wage Review decision then it only has itself to blame.
We were calling for negotiations to start late last year because of the complexity involved.
It’s also a bit rich of WaterNSW to spruik the principle of fairness and equity in one breath and in the next, complain about the ongoing entitlements of employees who have been forcibly transferred from other organisations.