Campaign and Petition FAQs
WHAT IS AN ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT?
An Enterprise Agreement (EA) is a legal document made under the Fair Work Act that sets your minimum pay rates and conditions of employment. An EA is negotiated between employers and employee bargaining representatives (TIA is a default bargaining representative as the Union representing Interpreters and Translators). An agreement would cover a group of employees, such as all translators and interpreters at ONCALL, rather than just one individual.
An EA protects your interests, by creating transparent, enforceable minimum conditions and entitlements. Once made, an EA sets the legal minimum conditions that an employer must provide to their workers. These entitlements can be enforced, and there are penalties if an employer doesn’t apply its terms.
While operating for a nominal period of up to four years, it continues to operate beyond that time. Often after the nominal expiration of an agreement the parties recommence negotiations for a subsequent agreement.
ARE WORKERS COVERED BY AN ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT BETTER OFF?
Research indicates that employees who are under an Enterprise Agreement have more favourable wage outcomes over time.
An EA must be better off than any Award that may cover employees. TIA would not settle for anything but a better deal!
HOW DO YOU NEGOTIATE AN ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT?
ONCALL has refused to negotiate with its translators and interpreters. But, you can make them.
If a majority of translators and interpreters want to bargain, and we can demonstrate this with evidence, such as a petition, then the Fair Work Commission can compel ONCALL to commence the enterprise bargaining process.
For the petition to be successful, it must demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of ONCALL’s translators and interpreters want to negotiate an EA. Once a majority has been achieved, we will apply for the Fair Work Commission seeking that ONCALL be compelled to negotiate with TIA as your bargaining representative.
HOW CAN YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOUR WAGES AND CONDITIONS ARE IMPROVED DURING ENTERPRISE BARGAINING NEGOTIATIONS?
As an individual you have limited power to negotiate improvements to your wages and conditions. Your employer can simply refuse to offer any improvements to your wages or conditions and instead engage someone else who will work for less – or even just reduce your pay rates.
But there is strength in numbers. Together we can achieve more than we can alone. Experience shows that the outcomes of negotiations for an EA are often correlated to the relative bargaining power of the parties involved in the negotiation i.e. Union members vs ONCALL.
The more translators and interpreters that are union members means you are in a better position to negotiate.
WHO WILL BE COVERED BY A NEW ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT?
We are seeking that all translators and interpreters who are employees of ONCALL around Australia would be covered by an enterprise agreement. An agreement would cover you for all the work you perform for ONCALL.
Those working as companies, partnerships or trusts are not employees.
WHO DECIDES WHAT WILL BE NEGOTIATED ON FOR TRANSLATORS AND INTERPRETERS?
You do! Union members prepare a Log of Claims listing what they would like to see maintained and improved. Your employer is obligated to consider and respond to each employee claim.
The Fair Work Act allows professionals to join their union and negotiate as a group of workers, so you can make claims together to improve the wages and conditions at ONCALL across Australia.
WHAT HAPPENS IF ONCALL DOESN’T AGREE WITH OUR LOG OF CLAIMS?
The more Union members, the greater your ability to compel your employer to accept your claims. The fewer Union members you have, the more likely you will not achieve your desired claims.
TIA negotiates in good faith. But, if your employer does not take you seriously, then you have options. We regularly arrange for Union members to take lawfully protected industrial action in support of their claims. This is often a last resort, and is a further way we can work together to achieve a fair outcome.