July 12, 2022 Member News

Members are regularly offered the opportunity to have a direct input into the negotiations for their next Enterprise Agreement. (The Enterprise Agreement is the legal document which details the wages and working conditions of each workplace). This opportunity comes in the form of a survey which can be filled in manually or online.

You have a choice!

Contained within the survey are questions relating to wages, rosters, spreads of hours, holidays, breaks, leave entitlements etc. Members are asked to fill in the surveys and complete them on-line, post them back to the union office in the reply paid envelope or return them to their Shop Steward or Delegate.

Completing these surveys is not compulsory however, it’s your chance to share with us the most important issues impacting you at work so grab a coffee and fill in the important survey.

Filling in the survey is the individual member’s opportunity to have their say in shaping a new Agreement. If there are conditions they don’t like in the Agreement, they can voice their opinion. If there is something in the Agreement that may need to be worded more clearly, they can write it down. If there are things that haven’t been included in the Agreement that they think will benefit them as an employee, this is their ideal opportunity.

Once the surveys are returned to the union office, they are read, collated and form the basis for the forthcoming negotiations between the company and the SDA. These surveys are totally confidential and the employer never views this documentation.

Because we work on such a tight time frame it is important that surveys are filled in promptly and returned to the union office.

Shortly after the surveys have been collated, meeting of Shop Stewards or Delegates are held to endorse the SDA’s ‘log of claims’. At these meetings, Shop Stewards and Delegates are invited to offer further ideas on how they believe the new Agreement could be improved.

Negotiations commence

After the consultative phase with members, Shop Stewards and Delegates, negotiations commence with the respective companies. These negotiations can be lengthy but are necessary. At some point, a meeting of Shop Stewards or Delegates will be convened to discuss the negotiations and employees will ultimately decide whether to accept the ‘negotiated package’ or reject it through a secret ballot.

Take the time

After reading this article, I hope members understand the important role they play in forming new Agreements and fill out these surveys with pride knowing that they are making a difference to their working life.

By Naomi McQuire,
SDA Organiser