ESTA Ops – Staffing Review Committee UPDATE
The CWU, UFU and VAU sought to commence the staffing review soon after the new Agreement was certified. In June, the Unions suggested an independent chairperson who was eventually accepted and the first meeting commenced on 29th September. On 9th October the CWU, VAU and UFU requested raw data to be provided to the Unions to evaluate the staffing status and review any changes over the last 5 years. We sought data such as CT, Disp, on-shift trainers and TLs on duty, per service, in 15 or 30 minute intervals, call average answer time, call maximum wait time, call handling time, amount of times ESTA have not staffed to current agreed minimums, how many requests sent for overtime (daily), attrition rates for the first 12 months and overall, amount of leave requested, rejected, and reasons, for calendar years 2015, 2017, and 2019. There are 37 items in total.
(The UWU initiated a separate request for data which ESTA have responded to).
Initially there was no controversy around releasing the data, then in mid-December ESTA demanded that Unions accessing the data would be required to complete a Confidentiality Agreement to be executed as a Deed. In January, the Unions sought legal advice and were advised not to sign such a Deed, which was written as a commercial document with bindings that would never be mutually agreed.
We notified the staffing review committee that clause 17.6 of the Enterprise Agreement, “ESTA will provide relevant data and information in a timely manner”, does not require signing of a confidentiality agreement to access the data. Alternatively, the Unions proposed that a ‘consent order’ be issued by the Fair Work Commission to deal with the issue of confidentiality. This process has been mutually agreed.
However, the release of data has not occurred because there is still a dispute about what will be provided. To date, ESTA have not provided a response as to why they can’t provide all of our data requests and we are now filing a dispute about that. For example, ESTA responded that they don’t have the data of how many times they have not staffed to the current agreed minimums – as per the Coverage and Staffing Levels Policy – amongst other items of request.
Once there is agreement on what will be provided and consent orders provided, access to the data will be permitted via a data room for viewing, and the Unions will then analyse the data and commence writing submissions.
The slow developments will mean the timetable will be deferred until such time as the Unions can access the data and then commence writing submissions. We want to base the submissions on quantifiable information.
Various other reasons for delay have inhibited progress such as annual leave, two of the three committee members have been seconded or on a long period of sick leave. We endeavour to be back on track as soon as possible.
If you have any further questions please contact me.
Communication Workers Union
Telecommunication and Services Branch
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