The Electrical Trades Union (ETU), Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union working for Downer and EnerMech have announced that more family-friendly 3/1 rosters be implemented on the Ichthys INPEX Project in Darwin.
ETU NT Organiser, Dave Hayes said their members at Downer and EnerMech have stood together to achieve this outcome, many of them knowing that they would not directly benefit from the result on this project but wanted to confirm to the industry that 4/1 rosters would no longer be tolerated.
“This is a true example of unionism where selfless action and solidarity gets the result. These members should be absolutely commended,” he added.
The ETU presented sufficient evidence that the current four weeks on, one week off roster work cycle was dangerous and not consistent with modern work practices.
“The union has presented study after study showing that the 4/1 work cycle was making an already stressful environment worse and had a detrimental impact on workers’ mental health and adversely affected family life, it has also been identified as a factor in suicidal thoughts,” Mr Hayes explained.
He further stated that Downer and EnerMech (under the direction of their principal contractor) had exhibited the worst kinds of ‘industrial bastardy’ in their attempts to prolong the negotiating process.
“The companies tried everything in the book to deny workers a family friendly roster, they attempted to split the workforce by offering wage increases for rollover documents and when that failed, they tried all legal avenues available to delay,” Mr Hayes shared.
“Our Members and their workmates signed petitions, took legal action voting up Majority Support Determinations, they voted down rollover documents and voted up protected action ballots to keep the pressure on, in an effort to get this result.”
The ETU was able to reach an in-principle agreement with EnerMech in mid-April.
The employees overwhelmingly supported an agreement that includes a 2.5 per cent wage increase, maintenance of all current conditions and the 3/1 roster. This means that employees will complete their existing work cycle (4/1 roster) and shall return from their scheduled R&R to a three weeks on, one week off roster.
“We see this as a game changer for the construction industry and the end of a roster that has caused so much damage,” concluded Mr Hayes.