INFORMATION IS POWER! Know your Grievance Procedure
Regrettably there have been recent instances of some management harassing members because they have contacted the SDA for advice. They do not want their employees being armed with factual information. Unfortunately they prefer their employees to be ‘kept in the dark.’ The role of the union, however, is to provide members with the facts. Once members have the facts, they then can decide what path they wish to follow.
The grievance procedure or disputes procedure is a fundamental ingredient of Enterprise Agreements or Awards. Very simply, the grievance procedure states that an issue or problem should be tried to be fixed at the store level and if need be, can be escalated to head office and beyond.
Importantly, enlisting the assistance of the union at any stage of the grievance procedure does not breach the procedure. In fact, we encourage it. It should be no surprise to all of us that management contact their industrial relations people for advice on a range of issues when dealing with employees.
Members’ entitlement to good advice is their absolute right. All phone calls and emails etc. are strictly confidential.
The following is an example of a phone call which one of our Information Officers received. The member asked her store manager a simple question and received an immediate response. Compare the advice which was given by the Store Manager and the legal advice which was provided to our member.
Question from member: The treating Doctor that my employer recommended me to see after an injury at work seems more concerned with what my employer wants than with me. When I asked my Manager if I could change my treating Doctor, he said I couldn’t and that, if I did, my claim could be suspended or closed.
Can he do this?
Advice from SDA Information Officer: No, he can’t. You have the right at any time to change your treating Doctor if you are not happy with the one you are seeing now. Your claim cannot be suspended or closed if you do this. Quite frankly, your manager was dishonest.
This example is not isolated. The union strongly advises all members to learn more about their rights and entitlements. Learn about the grievance procedure contained in your Enterprise Agreement or Award.
After all, information is power!