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Fair Work Commission Report Back – Absent Management Dispute

Nov 13, 2014RTBU News

To: RTBU Members

On Wednesday the 12th November the RTBU attended the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for a report back on the Absent Management Dispute lodged by the Signallers Sub-Division and joined by the Transport Officer Sub-Division.

Over the last month the Signallers Sub-Division has been progressing through the disputesettlement procedure with Sydney Trains regarding the absent management process. The grounds for the dispute are:

  1. The RTBU believes the timeframes used for the purpose of absent management should be over a calendar year. This is contrary to Sydney Trains which believe the timeframes should be over a rolling year.
  1. The RTBU believes the intention of the absent management process is to assist the employee with the absences. It is also an opportunity for Sydney Trains management to recognise many factors, other than genuine illness, which may cause an individual to take sick leave, including family and financial commitments through to morale at work. The idea is that problems, such as those mentioned are more likely to be identified and resolved early if attendance is managed effectively (Clause 28.10; (a); Sydney Trains Enterprise Agreement 2014).
  1. The RTBU has been made aware that several members have been placed on attendance management programs incorrectly, this is often despite the fact members have provided medical certificates for authorized absences or after having improved their attendance.
  1. The RTBU believes that if employees decline an overtime shift (including due to illness) the absence would not be counted as an absence for attendance management purposes where they are not being paid sick leave for that absence (Document issued to Unions NSW from RailCorp 6th July 2010).

During discussions, Sydney Trains agreed to revisit some of the attendance management plans that were issued in the past. The purpose is to identify members in the Signalling and Transport Officer Sub-Divisions that may have been managed incorrectly.

It must be noted during the report back it was obvious that the RTBU and Sydney Trains could not reach common ground on some of the issues of the dispute. These issues will be refined down and taken forward to arbitration on a date to be set.

The issues going to arbitration are:

  • Calendar year vs. Rolling year
  • Ensuring Sydney Trains comply with Clause 28.10 Attendance Management of the Sydney Trains Enterprise Agreement 2014.

If you have any further questions or comments please contact your local delegate or the RTBU office.

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