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Hardie Grant staff lodge majority support determination with Fair Work

On behalf of staff in several departments of the publishing division at Hardie Grant Publishing, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has filed a majority support determination (MSD) with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to initiate collective bargaining.

MEAA lodged the MSD application with Fair Work on Wednesday, 27 November, on behalf of staff members in the editorial, marketing/publicity, production/design, brand management, exports and specialist accounts departments. If the commission grants the determination, the publisher will be required to bargain with staff.

According to MEAA industrial officer Mardi O’Connor, MEAA first advised the employer in September that a majority of eligible staff had joined MEAA and wished to bargain for an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA). Staff endorsed their log of claims soon after, and in early October MEAA sent a formal letter to management proposing bargaining guidelines and a schedule for negotiations. Management responded in late October, but did not agree to bargain on the grounds that they were not certain that a majority of staff wanted to bargain.

Following a meeting between union representatives and management in late November, MEAA wrote to the publisher to request that it state whether or not it intended to bargain. Management responded and did not agree to bargain, again stating that in their view a majority of staff did not want to bargain for an enterprise agreement.

MEAA member staff at Hardie Grant said in a statement: ‘We are pleased that the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance has taken steps on our members’ behalf to try to move forward with our request to bargain. Two months have passed since the MEAA notified Hardie Grant Publishing management that staff in several departments of the publishing division had unionised and wished to negotiate an EBA, and we are keen to have our majority confirmed and move on to a mutually positive and beneficial bargaining process.

‘We would like to thank the MEAA for their support and thank union members from Penguin Random House for starting an important new chapter with the first union-negotiated enterprise bargaining agreement in Australian publishing history. We look forward to keeping up the momentum for positive change in the industry.’

Management declined to comment.

In late October Fair Work approved Penguin Random House Australia’s EBA, the first union-negotiated EBA in Australian publishing history. The EBA enshrines pay increases for editorial and publicity staff between three percent and six percent in the first year, and three percent per year thereafter. Other terms and conditions covered in the agreement include time off in lieu, transparent pay grades, an annual grading review process and remuneration for higher duties.


Category: Local news