Senis workers keep union agreement—now for pay and permanency

Over 50 enthusiastic Sensis Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) members held a lunchtime protest last October to stop the company’s attempt to undermine their union agreement (the Advertising and Design Agreement). Workers were angry at the move by Sensis to try to rob their working conditions by rolling their union agreement into a larger non-union one (the Enterprise Agreement 2).
Shortly after the protest, Sensis caved-in, agreeing to renegotiate the Advertising and Design Agreement. However this victory was just one small step to a new, improved agreement. Enterprise Bargaining has now begun, and while Sensis has not directly responded to union members’ claims, they have released their own disgraceful wish list.
It includes Rostered Days Off to be “grandfathered and not available to new employees covered by the Advertising and Design Agreement,” which would mean that RDOs would be eventually completely phased out. They must be dreaming.
The also want to “maintain a pay for performance model as per current arrangements”. But Sensis workers have successfully protested against this before.
Union members are demanding an across the board seven per cent pay rise each year for three years. Other key union claims include uncapped redundancy pay, and allowing only voluntary rather than forced redundancies; equal pay for labour hire temps (plus 25 per cent casual loading), and conversion to permanency after six months.
We also want to expand the coverage of the agreement to production workers who have been incorrectly classified, and are presently underpaid, and not entitled to RDOs. Sensis currently employs over 100 contractors. Some have been working full-time for four years, yet are paid up to $10,000 less than permanent staff, with no entitlement to annual leave or sick leave.
The union has already won over 50 conversions of contractors to permanency, increasing the proportion of permanent Sensis workers.
The success of members’ action to win renegotiation of their union agreement bodes well for the fight ahead.
By a Sensis worker


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