8 December 2020
Ausgrid has today proposed a one-year wage freeze for all Enterprise Agreement (EA) employees as a necessary response to the financial challenges the company is facing resulting from the impacts of COVID-19.
The proposal comes as part of the Ausgrid’s ongoing enterprise bargaining negotiations and includes a wage freeze for one year, followed by pay increases equal to CPI for the second and third year of the proposed agreement. Senior staff (not part of the EA) are already experiencing a wage freeze with no salary increases in FY21, which will likely continue in FY22.
All Ausgrid EA employees received a 2.25 per cent pay increase this year (in March 2020), as part of a total 7.5 per cent increase over the period of the last EA. The proposed one-year wage freeze would take effect upon commencement of the new EA.
Ausgrid has committed to keeping all current, active EA entitlements, with three amendments proposed around the use of excess annual leave and scheduling of work.
Ausgrid active EA entitlements include:
o Employer super contributions of 15%
o Fortnightly rostered day off
o Generous long service leave – 13 weeks for 10 years’ service
Ausgrid CEO Richard Gross said:
“We are in tough times right now, with the impact of the COVID-19 recession adding to existing financial restraints,” Mr Gross said.
“These restraints have meant we are in the process of restructuring our business, cutting back-office positions (announced in October), and reducing our executive leadership team by more than 20 percent, in order to become a more sustainable business.
“Our executive team and senior managers have been on a wage freeze since mid-2019 and I have personally taken a 10% wage cut this financial year.
“In addition to this, our shareholders have not had a dividend for two years and are unlikely to receive one for another two years.
“The goal through all this is to do everything we can to keep downward pressure on costs to our customers and protect as many jobs as possible. To do that, we must live within our means,” Mr Gross said.
“We have worked hard to ensure the wage freeze proposed for EA staff is for just one year and to keep the current, active entitlements for our people.
“We know this is a tough time for everyone and this is not a position anyone would hope for but given the circumstances this is a fair and balanced offer,” Mr Gross said.
The proposal has been put to unions and staff as part of the enterprise bargaining process today, with the current Enterprise Agreement due to expire in February 2021.