After several months of negotiations, Araluen management left the bargaining table and attempted to put forward an agreement that would result in a reduction of members’ conditions, create a two-tiered system between new and existing staff, and lead to the erosion of working conditions.
Despite a valiant effort from AEU members, who voted ‘no’ to the management agreement, they were outnumbered, and the agreement was voted up.
With all agreements, there is a process that must be undertaken before the new deal can be passed by the Fair Work Commission (FWC). One of those processes requires parties to the agreement to complete a form either accepting the agreement or raising any concerns they may have with it.
The AEU flagged several areas of concern to the FWC. On 24 June, there was a hearing at FWC between Araluen and the AEU to discuss these outstanding concerns.
These changes were achieved by the determination and collective action of members at Araluen.
The AEU agreed to try to resolve the members’ concerns via conciliation. The parties were able to work through key issues with FWC deputy president Tony Saunders, and agreement was achieved on the following issues, which will now form legal and binding ‘undertakings’ attached to the Araluen agreement that must be adhered to.
The undertakings include: long service leave that provides the correct conditions for day service employees; training and professional development that the employer will not unreasonably refuse; study leave to be included; wording on overtime and penalty rates that clarifies casual loading rates; and the insertion of wording that clarifies what services a day services employee is required to undertake.
The agreement has now been approved by the FWC, including the above undertakings. These changes were achieved by the determination and collective action of members at Araluen.