We’re aware Colony 47 met with staff yesterday morning to explain past over-award payments and how they plan to recover this money from staff - they're using smoke and mirrors to effectively rob members of their final Equal Remuneration Order instalment due in the first pay period after 1 December.
Here’s the rub: After the 2012 ERO decision, employees in the SACS sector were given significant % increases to be paid by their employers in 9 equal instalments in December each year. When Colony 47 paid employees the ERO funding provided to them each year they claim they also paid an extra amount as a separate ex-gratia payment. This was not an extra ERO payment, and Colony 47admits it didn’t come out of ERO funding.
With the final instalment due, Colony 47 wants to keep that ERO payment as away of taking back the extra money they voluntarily paid employees in earlier years, and they suggest staff have already been paid the equivalent of the full ERO therefore can grab the last instalment for themselves - this is dead wrong - staff haven’t been paid the full amount of the ERO as they haven’t yet received the last instalment, and Clause 17(b) of the EBA clearly requires that last ERO instalment is to be paid.
Last we checked it wasn’t illegal to pay above-award rates to staff, and many good employers do it without then asking for it back or threatening job security as Colony 47 now has.
Colony 47 paid those rates to attract and retain good staff, and they also need to do it because, unlike other employers in this sector, they refuse to employ the majority of their staff as permanent staff and prefer to use rolling fixed term contracts that strike at the job security of our members.
At yesterday’s union meeting with members we outlined the issue and explained the incorrect messaging the management team gave at their staff briefing session, and members who couldn’t attend today’s briefing due to work commitments are welcome to contact us if they have any questions.
This is a grubby attack on staff by the employer and we’ll be writing to them outlining what we discussed with members yesterday.
We'll keep members updated, so watch out for emails for updates and future member meetings.
We think this is a rotten attempt by Colony 47 to take what rightfully belongs to workers, and we’ll be fighting it vigorously with members' help and through the Fair Work Commission if need be, so remember, it’s more important than ever for everyone to be members of the union.