ESTA Bulletin – Unions Update

Since the beginning of the year the VAU, CWU and UFU have been working through several issues on behalf of ESTA members.

CAD Issues

The VAU, CWU and UFU wish to thank members who have continued to serve the community in extremely difficult circumstances due to problems caused by the CAD upgrade.

Whilst we are disappointed that issues with CAD were not acknowledged by ESTA management before they were raised by Unions in early December 2020, we are pleased that efforts have now been made to resolve the problems after intervention from the Unions.

In relation to CAD, the VAU, CWU and UFU met with ESTA representatives on several occasions during December 2020 and January 2021 to raise concerns regarding the impacts on staff and the community. The Unions sought an assurance that ESTA management were doing everything possible to mitigate the problems of the CAD upgrade.

Staff Shortages

Whilst we are aware that efforts have been made to bring in additional staff through overtime shifts to deal with staff shortages over the December 2020 and January 2021 period, it is disappointing that ESTA management have attributed staffing shortfalls to unplanned absences and low overtime uptake.

The VAU, CWU and UFU believe that the only way to make sure surges in demand are met is by hiring more staff – not by making existing staff work harder.

 Staffing Review  

As part of the last Enterprise Agreement negotiations, it was agreed that an independent review should be conducted into staffing levels at ESTA (see clause 17 of Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority Operational Employees Enterprise Agreement 2019 (2019 Agreement)). The review commenced in October 2020 and is chaired by former Fair Work Commission member, Julius Roe.

At the commencement of the review the VAU, CWU and the UFU asked ESTA for data in relation to call answering times and the number of employees rostered on shifts. Under the 2019 Agreement, ESTA is required to provide this data and this part of the agreement made. However, ESTA has for several weeks blocked the release of this data after raising privacy concerns with the Unions.

Following the refusal to provide the data, the Unions have commenced a dispute in accordance with the grievance process in the 2019 Agreement arguing that ESTA is required to provide the data in accordance with the 2019 Operations Agreement.  As a result of this issue, the VAU, the CWU and the UFU have been unable to progress the writing of our submission for the purposes of the review.

The VAU, CWU and UFU will continue to update members on the progress of the staffing review. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

In Unity,

Sue Riley, CWU                    
Matthew Coggin, VAU         
Jeremy Murphy, UFU          

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