Sorting out shift penalties in Maryborough and winning backpay in Wagga Wagga

CPSU members in Maryborough, Queensland, are taking their claim for unpaid shift penalties to the industrial umpire.

Since 2011, workers in the Centrelink call centre have been asked to start early to take farm assistance calls during southern states daylight savings time (Queensland does not follow daylight savings time).

Under their agreement, workers who are rostered to perform work outside the usual span of hours of 7am – 7pm should be paid a 15% shift loading for the whole shift.

The Department did not make staff aware of the entitlement and many agreed to the early shifts to take calls to provide essential assistance to farmers needing assistance.

It was only recently that affected CPSU members discovered the entitlement to shift loading and raised questions with DHS management and their union representatives.

The members, with the help of their CPSU delegate and organiser, approached DHS management who refused to pay the loading, relying on a clause in the agreement which states that employees who request to work outside of the bandwidth for personal reasons are not entitled to shift penalties.

Repeated efforts to resolve the issue directly with management failed, despite the members demonstrating they were working outside the bandwidth at the request of the department, rather than for personal reasons.

Organiser Kim Williamson said, “These members going out of their way to make sure phone calls are answered during southern states daylight savings time to provide essential assistance to customers in need. DHS just seems to be penny-pinching in this case.”

Undeterred and united, the members have now applied to Fair Work to resolve the matter and will put their case to the industrial umpire on Monday, 4 December.

Wagga Wagga cadets win back pay for District Allowance and Remote Locality Additional Leave

Two Wagga Wagga Cadets who were transferees to the Air Services Australia office in Darwin weren’t being paid their District Allowance and Remote Locality Extra Weeks Leave.

The non-payment of these entitlements was only discovered at a recent CPSU meeting to discuss enterprise agreement negotiations. It was obvious that the staff weren’t being paid their entitlements that CPSU members had negotiated and won over many years.

The members and organiser worked together to investigate and tackle this issue, with the result that one employee, who had moved to Darwin over 4 years ago, received 3 years back-payment for the district allowance and 4 weeks extra leave. The other cadet received a year’s worth of District Allowance and an Extra Weeks Leave.

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