The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is fast at work securing defence maintenance jobs for up to 230 of its members under a greenfields agreement, according to a news release on the union’s website.
This comes after Transfield Services secured an Early Services Agreement from the Federal Government’s Defense Department over the lucrative Land Materiel Maintenance contract, which would allow Transfield to take over maintenance of all army vehicles and weapons.
Mike Nicolaides, TSA National Secretary, said talks of the greenfields agreement will begin in a few weeks as soon as the Transfield agreement and employment conditions are finalized.
“We will be seeking to resolve the terms and conditions of employment to give our members reassurance as soon as we can,” Mr. Nicolaides said.
“We met with Transfield last year before they had even bid for the LMM contract.
“It was made clear to them that any greenfields agreement must retain the net value of the enforceable terms and conditions our members have now with BAE Systems, as a minimum. That hasn’t changed.”
A greenfields agreement is an agreement between 1 or more employers and 1 or more unions for a genuine new enterprise (ie. one that doesn’t have employees yet). The advantage of a greenfields agreement for employers is that it does not require the approval of any employee whose terms of employment will be subject to the agreement. Therefore, there are no employees to negotiate with.
More than 90 percent of maintenance workers voted last month to extend their existing agreement with BAE’s logistics arm. This gives workers a 4 percent increase in pay and allowances beginning June 1.
“BAE System’s eight-year hold on the land material maintenance contract, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, is due to expire on June 30. The AMWU will seek to ensure workers made redundant through the contractural change at BAE who want continued work may get it with Transfield,” according to the news release.
Transfield has asked AMWU to urge its members who have not yet applied to do so at tscareersindefence.com.au. Transfield says it does not want to lose the knowledge of experienced employees.
AMWU represents over 100,000 workers in all areas of manufacturing, including technical, supervisory and administrative areas, vehicle building, and metal and engineering.