Union News

Awards are the safety net

If an Enterprise Agreement is not in place in your workplace, chances are you are working to award rates.  There are a few exceptions to being an award-covered employee.  For instance, earning over the high-income threshold (approx. $130,000 PA). Sadly this doesn’t apply to many meat workers, (plenty of meat industry bosses though).

Something to look out for each year, as an award system employee, is the FWC (Fair Work Commission) annual wage review. Usually once the review concludes, a wage rate increase is applied to awards. This normally occurs in July each year.

Often in smaller processing and retail/wholesale butchery establishments you may not work to an EBA (Enterprise Agreement), EBA’s will often list annual wage increases for the life of an agreement. Whereas award increases are only established after the FWC review. The annual award increase sometimes appears to be overlooked by employers.  Having a current copy of the award available to workers is an obligation for employers, again often overlooked.

Throughout the past year, the AMIEU has helped many members recover many thousands of dollars from employers not meeting their obligations under the relevant award.

Allowing wage concerns to go unchecked for long periods of time can create large liabilities for employers and, in turn; create conflict when workers take steps to recover their entitlements.

Addressing underpayments when they occur can prevent this conflict.  Some simple steps members can follow to ensure they are being paid correctly are:

  • Make sure you check your payslips close to payday. (It is the law that payslips be provided within one working day of payment)
  • Know the current award rate for your classification and any loadings, which apply (casual/shift loadings, penalties etc.)
  • Have a copy of the relevant award available to reference. -The Modern Meat Industry Award 2010, for instance, can be downloaded simply from the FWC website,- just type in FWC into your internet browser, click on the Fair Work Commission link and follow the prompts.

For further information regarding any of the above information don’t hesitate to contact the AMIEU. Early intervention on wage issues usually provides better outcomes for workers.