'Reprieved' Bendigo call workers facing pay cuts

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'Reprieved' Bendigo call workers facing pay cuts

Three hundred former AAPT call centre workers in Bendigo had their jobs rescued when a new operator, Excelior, took over - but now unions say they are facing cuts to their wages and conditions.

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Three hundred former AAPT call centre workers in Bendigo had their jobs rescued when a new operator, Excelior, took over - but now unions say they are facing cuts to their wages and conditions.

New workers at the centre are already on the lower wages, and all existing workers will come under the new agreement in May next year.

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) says the new agreement will slash the worker’s entitlements, including paid maternity leave, leave loading and the right to union representation.

The Bendigo Advertiser quotes one worker with five years experience as saying hourly rates under the Excelior agreement will be reduced to $14.50 per hour, meaning pay cuts for more experienced workers of up to $120 per week.

'Misleading’ says employer

However Exelior chief executive, Greg Scott, says the figures quoted by the union are ‘misleading’.

‘There is about a two to eight per cent difference per hour so their take home pay will be the same,’ Scott said. ‘This is a minimum rates agreement, so we won’t be able to go below it, but it gives us the flexibility to go above it.’

WorkChoices a factor

Scott claimed there was a ‘union agenda’ behind the dispute but CPSU secretary Stephen Jones said the Excelior plans to move the entire former AAPT staff onto the new agreement within a year were only possible under the Federal Governments workplace laws.

‘The overtime rates are cut, 17.5% loading gone and that’s on top of a basic pay cut,’ he said.

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