Your petition questions answered
Q. I work for Services Australia over the phone but 'directly', am I employed by ONCALL, is this campaign relevant to me?
A. Services Australia outsources some interpreter services to Language Service Providers (LSPs). ONCALL recently acquired a contract with Services Australia. The contract is to supply interpreters for ‘sessional’ bookings or ‘shifts’ at Centrelink branches around Australia.
Services Australia also engages translators and interpreters directly as contractors under a Deed of Agreement for the provision of interpreting and translating services. This is a Federal Government arrangement and is separate to employment with ONCALL.
TIA recognises that there are concerns with the terms of this Deed and we also are happy to listen to your views independently of the issues facing ONCALL employees.
Q. Is this petition about sessional Centrelink work?
A. That’s only a part of it. Interpreters loudly expressed their objection to the rates offered by ONCALL for this work. This has highlighted the lack of protections faced by translators and interpreters who work for LSPs generally, and right now, ONCALL, in particular.
Q. What does this petition cover?
A. This petition aims at achieving negotiations towards an Enterprise Agreement at ONCALL. An Agreement would set out your employment terms and conditions at ONCALL. As your union, we would be seeking consistency for all the work you do. We would like to see an agreement covering all ONCALL employees.
Q. I have declined offers for this sessional work because I am not happy with the rates, can I sign the petition?
A. If you remain an employee at ONCALL elsewhere, absolutely. All translators and interpreters who are employees of ONCALL can sign the petition
Q. I am not an employee of ONCALL. How can I participate and support this campaign?
A. Please share all emails, messages and information about the petition with your colleagues across all your networks and ask them to pass it on too.
Most importantly, encourage your colleagues who are employed at ONCALL to sign the petition
Q. Our industry is so fragmented, how can we reach all ONCALL employees?
A. Through one on one conversations with colleagues we know and sharing messages and emails and asking others to share as well.
Q. Do we need to negotiate an Enterprise Agreement with every LSP?
A. It’s up to the workforce to decide if they want to seek an Enterprise Agreement at other employers. But hey – one at a time!
Q. Can ONCALL be ordered to forward this petition to all its employees?
Q. Can ONCALL take action against me because I signed the petition.
A. Employees have a lawful right to exercise workplace rights – such as signing this petition
- and an employer cannot take any adverse action against you for doing so. If they threaten or do take any such action, please let your union know straight away.
Q. Can an Enterprise Agreement cover translators as well?
A. Yes it can. We would be seeking that any agreement cover interpreters and translators.
Q. I‘m not taking many jobs from ONCALL because I am unhappy with the pay. Can I still sign the petition?
A. Only current employees can validly sign. We recognise that you have a choice about the assignments you accept and that often jobs are gone by the time you hit the button to accept them. If you still receive offers, try to accept job through phone, email or the portal.. If you are an employee you can sign the petition
Q. Can TIA meeting invitations be shared among other non-members so that they can also join?
A. Absolutely and we encourage it. Union meetings are for workers. Open meetings are open to all working translators and interpreters.
Q. Do I have to be a union member to sign the petition?
A. No you do not need to be a member to sign. All employees at ONCALL are encouraged to sign the petition
Q. Could we ask Centrelink to go with the Agency who accepts an EA?
A. Your union would lobby governments to prioritise providers who offer appropriate working conditions - especially those with an EA.
Q. How confident is TIA that they will eventually be able to sit down with ONCALL and get the company to negotiate?
A. That depends entirely on the participation of translators and interpreters. If enough sign the petition , then we can take it to Fair Work and seek an Order to compel ONCALL to negotiate with us.
Q. Can an Enterprise Agreement be struck that all LSPs have to follow?
A. No. An EA applies to a single enterprise. We cannot compel multiple employers to negotiate with us.
Q. Will TIA involve NAATI or AUSIT to set industrial standards?
A. NAATI does not have a role in this respect. AUSIT supports the work of TIA. TIA is the union with the authority, expertise and resources to run this petition and any subsequent negotiations.
Q. Will the Enterprise Agreement negotiate a single rate nationally?
A. Any negotiation for an EA will involve consultation with union members and any claims, including pay rates, will be relevant to the enterprise with whom we are negotiating – which in this instance would be ONCALL.
Q, How long will all this take?
A: There’s no time limit, but the sooner everyone signs the petition, the sooner we can take it to Fair Work.