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CWU runs first HSR course for 2013

Postal e-Bulletin 2013 - #2

  1. EBA summit
  2. CWU tells Australia Post to stop breaching FWA
  3. Future staffing model dispute goes back to FWC to sort out joint study methodology
  4. Representation of workers by health and safety representatives
  5. CWU runs first HSR course for 2013
  6. MDCS national miscellaneous time test trials begin
  7. Fair Work Ombudsman cracks down on underpayment and mistreatment of migrant workers
  8. International Women’s Day

1.EBA summit

The CWU and Australia Post will meet on 1st March 2013 to discuss negotiation processes and timeframes prior to beginning formal enterprise bargaining negotiations.  Australia Post has advised that Ahmed Fahour, Managing Director and CEO will attend the union/ management summit.

Both the CWU and Australia Post have indicated that they are keen to start talks earlier than the agreement allows for. Talks could potentially start at the end of March.

You can keep updated on the EBA on our web page and our phone app. (see end of this bulletin)

2.CWU tells Australia Post to stop breaching FWA

Australia Post has advised the CWU that it has not filled any positions on a permanent basis for the last twelve months or so– all appointments have been fixed term!  This is in breach of the current Fair Work Agreement which makes it clear that employees can only be recruited on a fixed term basis if they are required only for a specific period in particular circumstances.

We have had discussions with Australia Post about this matter and, as a result of these discussions Post has agreed to lift the embargo on permanent employment in the Transport area, including Hubs and Parcels.  Rectification of the problems caused by the appointment of fixed term employees in these areas will be addressed urgently through the State Branches of the union.   Members can obtain further information from their State Branch.

In the Mails and Delivery areas however Australia Post would not agree to lift the embargo on permanent employment.  The matter will now be referred by the union to the Fair Work Commission as a dispute.  We will keep members advised of progress.

3.Future staffing model dispute goes back to FWC to sort out joint study methodology

Following the meeting at FWA on 8th February 2013 a discussion was held between CWU and Australia Post personnel to agree on the details of the study of EPOS Bill Payment transactions.

Agreement on the types of transactions to be studied could not be reached because Australia Post claimed to disallow transactions that included any of the following occurrences:

      • A customer is delayed in starting towards the PSO and needs to be called twice because they are talking to another customer in the queue (even though AP would allow a delay if a customer in the queue was looking at but did not purchase a product on a merchandise display).
      • A customer makes an enquiry during the transaction on a matter not related to bill payment.
      • A customer makes an enquiry about balances on a bill, or makes a request for a total of all payments made, or a request for a search to determine whether the customer has sufficient funds for a payment by EFTPOS.
      • A change in the customer’s preferences, e.g. after the PSO has scanned the bill the customer declares that they only want to pay a portion of the bill total.
      • A customer makes an error when selecting the account from which they wish to pay the bill.
      • A customer is delayed or is slow in producing their money.

Unbelievably, Australia Post claim that the time involved in the above situations is all recorded in the counter survey and back office minutes!  They are not and even if Australia Post wanted to record it they couldn’t – Post Office operations would come to a stop while PSOs timed and recorded these interactions with customers.  It doesn’t happen and Australia Post benefits from the time not being recorded because they don’t have to provide staff to cover for these situations.

The union has accommodated Australia Post’s request to remove a number of things that we considered should have been regarded as part of the transaction however we considered that limiting the study to the MODAPTS part of the transaction which is often the smaller part of the total transaction time denies the study the opportunity to gain a realistic picture of the times required in counter work involving bill payments.

The matter is scheduled for a further conference in Fair Work Commission.


Agreement reached between the parties enabling a joint Australia Post /CWU study of live times for bill pay transactions to commence in the week of 25th February. The study will be conducted at two Post Offices in Victoria - Melton PO and Croydon PO over a two weeks period.   We will prepare a joint report at the conclusion of the study identifying areas of agreement and difference for discussion. 

At the same time the union is meeting with Australia post to review Australia Post’s Back Office Survey, the union’s proposed Workload Assessment Tool and greater involvement of Postal Managers and staff in the system for determining staffing requirements.

4.Representation of workers by health and safety representatives

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 allows for workers within a workplace to be grouped into work groups and to elect one or more members of that group to represent them in workplace health and safety matters.

Under the WHS Act workers can request the assistance of the union to conduct elections for these workplace Health and Safety Representatives.  The CWU also conducts Comcare accredited training for HSRs.  This is a 5 day course. Time off work to attend the training must be with pay that you would otherwise be entitled to receive for performing your normal duties. If you are a HSR your union can help you request release to attend training.

5.CWU runs first HSR course for 2013

CWU runs first HSR course for 2013The CWU ran it first Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) course for 2013 last week.   The course was well attended with HSRs from across Australia Post Delivery, Transport, Mails and Call Centre business units.

As you probably know unionised, trained and supported HSRs are one of the biggest single factors affecting workplace health and safety.  The CWU conducts HSR training so that members get the best possible representation in work health and safety issues.

The WHS Act regulator Comcare also attended the course to give HSRS an overview of the role of Comcare and its inspectors.

6.MDCS national miscellaneous time test trials begin

Over the coming months there will be MDCS time test trials in each State to examine the length of time each miscellaneous task takes.  Part of the trial is to video one PDO in each State so this information can be examined at a later date by the National Delivery Committee and ergonomists.

There will be one delivery facility in each State over a five-day period (Monday to Friday) as part of the trial.  Five PDOs (one on each day) will take part in the trial. This totals 30 PDOs nation-wide that data will be gathered from.

In gathering the data the trial will take into consideration gender, experience, different modes of delivery, density of units, business, houses and mail volumes.

The process will have union and management nominated PDOs at a local level.  The PDO will perform their tasks and an observer will document the times so not to interrupt the process.  The PDO will sign off on the data if agreed at the end of the trial. 

State Branch officials will be available during the weeklong trials for assistance.

The number of parcels on the rounds will be counted and the time it takes to process and pack for delivery will be noted.  The amount of parcels being processed to PDOs for delivery is increasing.  The union is in discussion with Post on how this will impact on indoor assessments and outdoor delivery times.  As mail volumes drop, delivering parcels will ideally protect full time PDO positions.

Members will be updated through the E Bulletin on the progress of the trials.

7.Fair Work Ombudsman cracks down on underpayment and mistreatment of migrant workers

The Fair Work Ombudsman has been on the prowl in the past few days, imposing underpayment fines and cracking down on the treatment of migrant workers.

The operators of a call centre in Nowra, New South Wales have been fined $107,500 and ordered to back-pay staff almost $200,000.

Federal Magistrate Rolf Driver found 33 staff were underpaid a total of $193,419 in 2009. The largest individual underpayment was $17,467.

Quincolli, which formerly operated the Nowra call centre for several NSW municipal councils and other organisations, has been fined $81,000, while the centre operator, Judith Potter, was personally fined $17,467.

The employees were underpaid minimum hourly rates, overtime rates, annual leave loadings and shift, weekend and public holiday allowances. Magistrate Driver said Potter failed to provide basic and important entitlements under workplace relations legislation and the breaches needed to be taken seriously.

"The purpose of that legislation is to provide a safety net which ensures adequate minimum entitlements to employees, particularly those who are vulnerable or are on low income rates," Driver said in his judgment yesterday.

Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said in a statement migrant workers were often not aware of their working rights and can often be reluctant to complain

The FWO is currently pursuing – the use of casual labour and industries most prone to using students and migrant workers.

8.International Women’s Day

Each year around the world, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Many groups around the world choose different themes each year relevant to global and local gender issues.

This year the ACTU has chosen the theme “Time to Care Campaign” to celebrate International Women’s Day. The campaign will be launched on International Women’s Day, Friday, 8 March 2013. Australian families have changed and work needs to change too. Unions will campaign to ensure the right to request family friendly arrangements is enforceable, including:

All employees with caring responsibilities, older workers and workers experiencing domestic violence have the right to request a change in work arrangements.

An obligation on employers to genuinely consider the request (which can be refused on reasonable business grounds); and

The right of an employee to appeal an unreasonable refusal of their request.

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