AMWU members at Sensis voted a resounding yes in a protected industrial action ballot, after months of negotiations going nowhere. Seventy seven per cent of members returned ballots, voting yes at between 88 and 98 per cent depending on the length of strike action proposed.
Members will vote on next steps at national meetings on June 14. An escalating programme of action, with a one hour stoppage and rally outside Sensis offices in the current slow work period, moving to more sustained action as “book close” for Yellow Pages gets closer is proposed.
Meanwhile CPSU members on the larger Enterprise Agreement 2 (EA2) at Sensis have voted to endorse an inferior agreement than that offered to AMWU members on the Advertising & Design Agreement. The inferior agreement may now be put to a vote of all staff. CPSU officials encouraged a yes vote, not spelling out the problems with the offer, or proposing a strategy for securing a better agreement. They argued that the “agreement is the best deal we can get at the negotiating table.”
Yet it gives staff no say on targets (only “consultation”), does not include RDOs currently enjoyed by AMWU members, explicitly excludes any award, allows no time for union delegates to deal with member issues, allows deals for individual staff to override the agreement and sales staff to be asked to work unspecified amounts of unpaid overtime (with exceptions only for family responsibilities or health and safety considerations). Its pay offer of 3 per cent (plus performance bonuses, but with potentially no bonus for “underperformance”) is less than the 4 per cent staff have received each year for most of the last decade.
This agreement is also trying to override the wishes of ADS, Web Specialist, Content Collector, and Production Filer AMWU members, currently wrongly classified on EA2, to be included in a new Advertising & Design Agreement, by mentioning these job roles specifically in its classification structure (Sensis only agreed to shift the Changes Specialists). As Solidarity went to press it looked likely Sensis would delay putting this agreement to the workforce in order to negotiate with the AMWU. Sensis is undoubtedly worried the AMWU would run a no vote campaign, with longer immediate stop works to mobilise the whole membership for the campaign. Watch this space.
By a Sensis worker