Recently I visited Perth to address members and was made aware of some concerns in relation to minimum day shift number interpretations being made by management that do not appear to be consistent with the wording and intent of the job security clause in the Enterprise Agreement. This notice serves to clarify the clause and remind members that the Senior Engineers are responsible for administration and assurance that 5 Engineers need to be rostered for each day shift completed in the department. The key parts of clause 12 state –
12.2 Virgin Tech agrees to guarantee the number of rostered dayshift roles in each Line Maintenance Section as outlined in Scheduele 2 of this Agreement.
12.3 The Parties agree that there may be unforeseen circumstances where these numbers fall below the rostered Table 1, Schedule 2 minimum numbers on the day, due to short notice operational requirements or late notification of absence by Team Members. Unforeseen variations to the agreed numbers are considered normal to the business and as such are permitted. Operational numbers on the day to maintain required service levels will remain the responsibility of the Senior Engineer at the time Virgin Tech becomes aware of the shortfall or on the day of operations. The Senior Engineer must make the most cost effective decision to rectify the shortfall in numbers based on operational requirements. If in doubt, the Senior Engineer must consult directly with his or her Leader or manager.
A number of scenarios were discussed at meetings around the unforeseen circumstances, counting the acting manager as one of the 5 required Engineers and who should be deciding that additional staff should be called for overtime. In doing so and to ensure compliance with the Enterprise Agreement the following guide should be used
1. At all times the Senior Engineer is responsible for and must determine if enough Engineers are rostered. This means the Senior, not the Acting Manager, makes the decision and calls extra staff on an as needs basis. If the Senior does not undertake this function, they may be complicit with a breach of the Enterprise Agreement and can be fined or penalised under the Fair Work Act.
2. The following scenarios are unforeseen circumstances where numbers may fall below 5.
a. When less than 14 hours notice is given by a staff member who has called in sick.
b. When an Engineer rostered for dayshift is needed to fly to another base for an aircraft recovery and the need for that Engineer to fly only became known on the day or without 14 hours notice.
c. When a future shortfall was identified and no staff are available for overtime.
d. To attend adhoc meetings such as a toolbox meeting.
e. To do computer based online training from within the section.
3. The following scenarios are not unforeseen circumstances and all efforts should be made to ensure 5 Engineers are rostered for a full time dayshift in Perth. The number should not include Engineers undertaking duties as described below.
a. When more than 14 hours notice is given that the staff member will be sick.
b. When an Engineer rostered for dayshift is needed to fly to another base for an aircraft recovery and the need for the Engineer to fly was known for 14 hours or more.
c. To attend planned meetings such as OHS meetings.
d. To attend classroom or similar training that cannot be undertaken from a section based computer.
e. To undertake higher duty management positions.
f. To work in another section for VARA (line or tarmac).
g. To undertake routine flying spanner duties known in advance and not considered an aircraft recovery.
Another matter that was discussed at meetings and has developed in the last 24 hours is the real intention of VARA management wielding changes at both VARA and VT. It appears that VARA managers are attempting to implement a merger of departments by force and without consultation.
Last night the VARA CEO held a meeting with Engineers in the hangar and advised them that he intended for VT to take over the VARA tarmac duties because (words to the effect of) – the VT blokes had nothing to do during the day. The taking over of VARA tarmac work to include the routine flying spanner work on planes flying out to mines for companies such as BHP. There is no doubt that the company intend to force VARA LAMEs back to the hangar where they will then declare that they are overstaffed and force redundancies.
I understand that some of you may have 320 or Fokker licences. You were not trained on these aircraft by Virgin Tech and are under no obligation to hand those licences to your employer. The ALAEA offered to undertake an orderly merger two years ago and the documents we submitted for this process were rejected by the company. ALAEA members need to understand their rights and stand together now before an unrecoverable trail of destruction is left by a management team who in my view have little understanding of how our industry works.