Seqwater bargaining bulletin

The Services Union had further Enterprise Agreement discussions with Seqwater last Thursday. We have now entered the actual bargaining phase of discussions, where your claims for improvement are addressed and the parties consider productivity improvements to access the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) available under the Government’s GOC Bargaining Policy. As always, our Union’s position is that productivity should not come at the cost of your hard-won entitlements.

First up was travel allowance, and how it interacts with scenarios including excess travel to a different work location and travel to conferences, seminars and the like. We arrived at a clarified provision we believe will be worthy of affected members’ consideration, subject to review of Seqwater’s drafting.

TOIL remains a live issue as we were unable to reach consensus on the rate at which the time accrued should be paid out if not taken as time off.

We then moved to ‘Bundle 1’ of Seqwater’s proposed productivities. This group of items mainly affects Operational Officer roles. The Unions’ consensus was that the proposals would result in too significant a reduction in conditions, so we remain without agreement on those items. Seqwater then took us through a proposal to remove the Water Officer stream and replace it with a Multiskilling Allowance. Our Union suggested that similar principles could be applied to related roles in the Administrative Officer stream and we will table a counter-proposal along these lines at the next meeting.

Seqwater then tabled a proposal to redraft the All Purpose Operational Allowance and Obnoxious Conditions Allowance, and undertook to provide modelling on the overall pay increase that the proposed reductions to these provisions would fund. We then had initial discussions about Seqwater’s proposed Bundles 2 and 3, which centre on ADOs, On-Call and Callback provisions, which remain live items for further discussion.

Our members in the Common-Law Contract Manager space should also be aware that we have further discussed Seqwater’s proposed Managers’ EA and we are analysing Seqwater’s draft materials to assess the merits of a separate Agreement. We will discuss this with affected members before committing to a course of action.

Regardless of where you sit within Seqwater, it’s safe to say that the pace and intensity of EA discussions has increased. Strong and informed membership is what gets results, so if you work with someone who wants the best possible outcome, remind them that membership of our Union is open to all Seqwater employees and that joining is easy online.

ASU is the Union fighting for workers at SEQWater.