2016: TTIA and in­dus­trial re­la­tions - The Year in Re­view

Australasian Timber - - ASSOCIATIONS - Brian Beecroft Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Tim­ber Trade In­dus­trial As­so­ci­a­tion

WELL, IF you’re like me, you will be ut­ter­ing the same hum­ble words you did this time last year, where did that year go and why is time go­ing so fast! You know the an­swer deep down, time goes faster once you turn 40, and there­after it just gath­ers mo­men­tum with­out em­pa­thy and to­tally against one’s own free will!

That said, it is worth ex­am­in­ing what were the main in­dus­trial re­la­tions is­sues to emerge from 2016 and for the in­dus­try was it a win, lose or draw.

In terms of what could be termed sig­nif­i­cant de­ci­sions, there was a de­ci­sion by Fair Work Aus­tralia al­low­ing vari­a­tions to an­nual leave pro­vi­sions in modern awards in re­la­tion to cash­ing out an­nual leave, ex­ces­sive leave, grant­ing an­nual leave and method for pay­ment for leave.

The ac­knowl­edge­ment by FWA of the fact that em­ploy­ees of­ten seek to cash out leave from their em­ployer is wel­come, al­beit long over­due, and with lim­i­ta­tions on the amount and some as­so­ci­ated rules in­cluded in the process. Sim­i­larly, it is com­mon­sense that em­ploy­ers be al­lowed to make an­nual leave pay­ments by EFT in ac­cor­dance with their pay cy­cle rather than hav­ing to make pay­ment be­fore the em­ployee pro­ceeds on an­nual leave. Too of­ten it seems the bu­reau­cracy and its in­sti­tu­tions are play­ing catch up with the re­al­ity of what hap­pens in the work­place.

An­other FWC de­ci­sion dur­ing 2016 var­ied the over­time pro­vi­sions in modern awards to al­low an agree­ment with an em­ployee to take time off in lieu of over­time in­stead of be­ing paid over­time based on time for time, i.e. 2 hours over­time worked equals 2 hours’ time off.

This pro­vi­sion may prove use­ful, al­though again it does come armed with the usual oner­ous re­quire­ments to have a sep­a­rate writ­ten agree­ment with each em­ployee for each pay pe­riod when the pro­vi­sion is ap­plied. Yes, I know, as if you don’t al­ready have enough re­oc­cur­ring te­dious pa­per­work! It also has rules about when the time off can be taken and so on.

You should con­sult TTIA on both the above is­sues when im­ple­ment­ing those changes to leave and over­time.

In the mid­dle of the year, we had a Na­tional Wage de­ci­sion ap­ply­ing a 2.4% wage increase to em­ploy­ees. This was ba­si­cally ex­pected and fairly pre­dictable.

Fi­nally, we started the year with the Gov­ern­ment seeking to in­tro­duce the Aus­tralian Build­ing & Con­struc­tion Com­mis­sion to ex­ert some pressure on those par­ties that op­er­ate on build­ing sites to be­have in a law­ful and civil man­ner. At the time of writ­ing, we are still await­ing the pass­ing of that leg­is­la­tion in the Se­nate with the La­bor op­po­si­tion still op­pos­ing the con­cept.

That brings me to TTIA. The last year has with­out doubt pre­sented some chal­lenges but we re­main fo­cussed on con­tin­u­ing to ce­ment our rep­u­ta­tion as the key go-to in-house in­dus­trial re­la­tions provider of in­dus­trial/ HR ad­vice and le­gal ser­vices to the in­dus­try. It’s an in­dus­trial unit that is unique in terms of its tim­ber spe­cific ex­pe­ri­ence as well as its non-profit cost ef­fec­tive na­ture. We are grate­ful for the con­tin­ued in­dus­try sup­port from all sec­tors, as well as the sup­port we get from other tim­ber re­lated or­gan­i­sa­tions who re­fer the wider in­dus­try to us for spe­cific le­gal as­sis­tance.

The TTIA Work­place Health & Safety Unit also is quite unique in the in­dus­try in pro­vid­ing in-house tim­ber ex­perts on WH&S is­sues across all sec­tors of our in­dus­try. The se­nior staff in this unit have been at TTIA for more than 20 years and the de­mand for safety man­age­ment sys­tems and au­dits con­tin­ues to grow. It also demon­strates the will­ing­ness of in­dus­try to em­brace world class safety sys­tems and pro­ce­dures. As an in­dus­try, we can be proud of this change from where we were in terms of safety when I first com­menced at TTIA 25 years ago.

The year has seen TTIA form a series of strate­gic busi­ness part­ner­ships to of­fer a vast range of busi­ness ser­vices and mem­ber­ship dis­counts that re­ally are unique in the tim­ber in­dus­try. We re­cently ne­go­ti­ated ar­range­ments with two fur­ther or­gan­i­sa­tions to pro­vide 15% dis­counts to our Mem­bers on new fire ex­tin­guisher equip­ment as well as com­pet­i­tive work on fire safety sys­tems. In ad­di­tion, we have ne­go­ti­ated with an in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion a 15% dis­count on mem­bers’ per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment and a range of work­place prod­ucts. Mem­bers are ad­vised to con­tact TTIA to ac­cess th­ese of­fers.

The range of mem­ber­ship ser­vices, part­ners and dis­counts pro­vided to TTIA mem­bers now ex­tends to: Fuel Elec­tric­ity Tele­phone Labour Re­cruit­ment Ser­vices Freight For­ward­ing Training Ser­vices Mar­ket­ing/Web­site Site de­sign Fire Sys­tems Pro­tec­tive Per­sonal Equip­ment Le­gal Work Place Health & Safety Drug & Al­co­hol Test­ing Ser­vices & Equip­ment Fi­nance Busi­ness In­sur­ances Light­ing

On a clos­ing note, a big thanks to John Hudswell (editor) and Aus­tralasian Tim­ber for the op­por­tu­nity to con­trib­ute to this mag­a­zine, to our loyal TTIA mem­bers and the in­dus­try as a whole. I al­ways think this time of the year is not only a good time to recharge the bat­ter­ies but re­flect on what is re­ally im­por­tant. On that note, may you en­joy the fes­tive sea­son with fam­ily and friends. Have a great Christ­mas and I look for­ward to con­tribut­ing next year!

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