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IBM missed union deadline

IBM has failed to meet an ultimatum set by the Australian Services Union (ASU) to agree on a date to negotiate a collective employee agreement.
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Written by Colin Ho on

IBM has failed to meet an ultimatum set by the Australian Services Union (ASU) to agree on a date to negotiate a collective employee agreement.

IBM outsources

Sally McManus
(Credit: ZDNet.com.au)

The ASU last Friday successfully won the right to have IBM negotiate directly with the union on a number of matters. The ASU set the deadline after IBM said it needed to ask for legal advice on what it should do, according to the union.

"Fair Work Australia determined that the ASU has a right to represent the IBM workers and a majority of people at the Baulkham Hills flight deck want an enterprise agreement, so under the Fair Work Laws, IBM has to negotiate with us 'in good faith'," ASU spokesperson Sally McManus told ZDNet Australia.

However, the software giant said that it needed more information.

"We are still awaiting reasons for the order issued by Fair Work Australia," IBM said to ZDNet Australia in a statement today. The company has also previously said that it will be looking at expanding its Australian staff in 2010.

"IBM are still refusing to negotiate because they say they are considering their legal options," said McManus.

"As a result, we will now consider all our options and we are not ruling anything out."

The union had been embroiled in a battle with the software giant for the past few months, claiming that IBM has been unresponsive to negotiations. According to McManus, IBM's Australian staff are bargaining for better conditions and pay.

According to the union, a minimum of 17 jobs will be transferred from IBM's Baulkham Hills facility in Sydney to "low-cost" centres in China and India.

However, this could be the tip of the offshoring iceberg, with the union claiming that 800 jobs are at risk of being offshored.

ASU insists that IBM, under the Fair Work Laws, is required to negotiate with it in "good faith".

"ASU members want an enterprise agreement with IBM that covers such things as: pay increases, redundancy pay, extra redundancy bonus if a job is sent overseas and penalty rates for working 24-hour shifts," she said.

The union claims that IBM will be making a definite announcement on 12 May about its offshoring plans.

"At least 20 per cent of our members face losing their jobs at Baulkham Hills. IBM have said they are likely to make final announcements on 12 May. This means all the issues outlined above are very pressing," said McManus.

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