Unions met with ESTA management representatives last Thursday 29 September to discuss bargaining for a new agreement to cover ESTA operational employees.
The meeting was the 10th to take place between the parties since the commencement of bargaining.
Prior to the meeting, unions reiterated core claims to be satisfied in order for an agreement.
- Minimum staffing numbers to be included in the enterprise agreement.
- Rostering arrangements to be included in the enterprise agreement.
- An improved classification system to include years of service.
Unions are also continuing to pursue important claims to resolve issues arising from disputes around payment for public holidays, ESTA’s so call ‘hours of work review’.
The focus of the most recent meeting was classification structure.
Whilst the parties continue to bargain in good faith, unions are extremely disappointed that ESTA’s offer in respect to changes to the classification structure, if accepted, would amount to a retrograde step for ESTA employees.
The proposal would have seen a two class system with new employees paid at lower rates.
Unions consider that the offer does not appropriately recognise and respect the role of dispatchers and call takers as emergency services workers in so far as it suggests that in the future the remuneration for the role should be lowered in the future.
Unions believe that the roles of dispatcher and call taker are extremely important, front line, emergency services roles and should be respected accordingly.
A further bargaining meeting will take place this Friday where it is expected that ESTA representatives will present a revised structure. Members are advised that unions remain committed to achieving an agreement in a timely fashion but will not do so if it involves a step back in wages or conditions for important roles.