Enterprise bargaining has commenced at Sensis for the first time in years, as a result of growing union membership. Sensis is 100 per cent owned by Telstra, which produces Yellow & White Pages, Whereis, Citysearch and more, and employs over 3000 staff.

But there are two existing agreements, the Advertising & Design Agreement (A&DA), a union agreement covered by the AWMU, and the Enterprise Agreement 2 (EA2) a non-union agreement, which has some union members covered by the CPSU.

The A&DA covers about 300 production staff who produce Yellow and White Pages. The non-union EA2 covers up to 2700 staff, the majority of whom are sales staff.

The AMWU has been openly campaigning to get a majority of members in order to renegotiate the A&DA which dates from 2003 and has simply been rolled over every year since then with a 4 per cent pay rise.

As AMWU membership inched closer to a majority of the production workforce, Sensis announced that it would not renegotiate two agreements, but wanted to roll them both into one. This would have the practical effect of diluting the near majority AMWU membership in production into a tiny minority of the wider agreement. No doubt Sensis would like to dilute the better conditions of A&DA agreement.
All Sensis workers deserve the best conditions possible, but it is crucial that the better conditions of A&DA agreement—which includes RDOs, Saturday double time, better pay structure, and a clause that requiring union agreement to changes to targets—are not undermined. An improved A&DA agreement will put pressure on Sensis to also deliver for those on the EA2.

The AMWU log of claims includes a 21 per cent pay rise over three years, job security clauses including uncapped redundancy, equal pay for casuals, and a time period after which casuals must be converted to permanency.

Two hundred and fifteen AMWU members have signed a national petition to keep their agreement. The petition also helped increase interstate union membership which until now has been concentrated in
Melbourne.

As Solidarity goes to press, Sensis unionists are waiting for an answer from the company whether they are willing to re-negotiate the AMWU agreement. But whatever the answer, Sensis knows they have a fight on their hand for the best union agreement.

After making around $1 billion (earnings before tax) a year in past years, Sensis revenue this year fell by a small 6.4 per cent. However, targets are not a problem for Sensis CEO Bruce Akhurst who still received a whopping 53 per cent salary increase to $2.9million. With pay increases like this at the top, there are no excuses for Sensis not to deliver a great bargaining outcome to all those who actually do the work.

By a Sensis worker

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