AMWU proposes print award change

The Graphic Arts Printing and Publishing (GAPP) Award is currently under review, with the Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA) looking into a series of recommended changes made by the AMWU, its main concern being that the changes could alter the set wages and classifications.

A conference was held with Fair Work Commission deputy president Val Gostencnik along with Paul Mitchell, Workplace Relations manager at the PIAA and representatives from the Australian Industry Group (AIG) and union AMWU also attended, as the union’s recommendations were presented.

The PIAA says the review, which happens every four years, is an ongoing process which has the capacity to widely impact many areas of the printing industry and is a matter of priority for the association.

Lorraine Cassin, national print secretary at the AMWU says, “The AMWU’s main application in the update of the Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award is to update the competencies from the existing ICP training package into the Award. This would reflect that changes that have occurred in the industry over recent years, with particular respect to the rapid changes in technology, digitisation and 3D Printing.”

[Related: AMWU rails against tax cuts]

Paul Mitchell of the PIAA says, “The AMWU has a number of recommendations on competencies in the award, which could affect classifications and wage rates. We are looking into all of it. We are taking time to figure it out and will give a review on it.

 “It could possibly change wage award classifications, so we are concerned about say someone at level three going up to level four. Wages could go up significantly.

“There will be another conference with the Fair Work Commission deputy president, Val Gostencnik, in another three weeks and the PIAA will put its recommendations forward.

“While there are a number of recommendations to be considered, Printing Industries would be involved in the review process to ensure that the integrity of the industry and interests of members would be advocated for.”

[Related: PIAA slams ACTU on enterprise bargaining]

While the PIAA is erring on the side of caution, the Industry Group is resisting the changes.

Cassin says, “Unfortunately, the AIG is opposing our application, suggesting the competencies should not be disturbed.  It is not a case of disturbing, it is a case of updating an award to reflect the industry today, which is consistent with the modern award objectives. 

“This is a disturbing view, as it seems to suggest the AIG has no understanding of where the industry is now, and how it has changed drastically over the last five years. It also suggests they have no recognition of the skills required to work in the industry today and how these are different from what they were five or ten years ago.

“The Award must recognise the modern skills that workers need to be successful in the printing industry, and that an understanding of the digital era is crucial. We believe that the Award must recognise the ICP training competencies in order to be relevant to today’s workforce.”

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