IAG hide behind global pandemic to walk back commitments on fairer pay structure.

IAG have used job security anxiety generated by the global pandemic and looming financial uncertainty to sideline enterprise bargaining negotiations.

Your union has been negotiating your new Enterprise Agreement (EA) since August 2019, and we had our last meeting in February BEFORE the COVID-19 pandemic sent us all into lockdown. By mid-March, we had come to “in-principle” agreement and were almost ready to finalise the deal. Despite repeated efforts by the FSU to further progress negotiations, IAG has been dragging their feet.

We understand that the economic landscape has shifted dramatically since March. Your union was not naïve to the fact that IAG may seek to reduce some of the pay commitments that had already been arrived at. We were prepared to work with them to pivot negotiations and ensure that new realities and priorities for both parties were accommodated.

We were patient and persistent about restarting negotiations. We worked with IAG through the transition to WFH and recognised that for a while at least – there were other priorities. We knew that when negotiations restarted pay would need to be rediscussed in our new context, and we flagged with IAG that we were ready and willing to talk. We did this many times. We knew that the security of a new EA would be important as we head into a period of unprecedented uncertainty.

You would have seen that last week IAG made an announcement on pay. This occurred outside of the EA negotiations and without notification or consultation with your FSU representatives who are working hard to secure your terms and conditions.

When decisions about pay are made unilaterally by management parallel to negotiations it undermines the process.

This week, FSU will be lodging a bargaining dispute with the Fair Work Commission. IAG’s actions are a clear breach of the Good Faith Bargaining requirements of the Fair Work Act.

I want to be clear with you: we don’t necessarily have a problem with the pay rise that IAG are proposing but now more than ever it is critical that companies work with their employees in the spirit of openness and transparency so that we can get through this in the best shape possible.

We’re very disappointed that IAG have chosen to ignore your representatives. We have a meeting with IAG on Friday and if we don’t get an outcome at that meeting that we believe is good for members, we’ll seek legal advice and take this further.

Before lockdown IAG and FSU had agreed in principle to many improvements to your working conditions that we believe will be more important than ever now. At our meeting on Friday we will be seeking the following:

  • That IAG maintain their commitments in all areas other than % increase.
  • That they lock in 1% as a minimum but give a financial presentation and reassess this with the FSU each year in view of COVID uncertainty casting a long shadow.
  • That we leave with a deal.

We will keep you informed of the outcome.

In Unity,
Julia Angrisano

Authorised by Julia Angrisano, National Secretary