Laboratory workers who make spectacle lenses for OPSM have won a union deal with a guaranteed pay rise after years of campaigning.
“The workers are over the moon,” said AMWU organiser Mark Hoban.
“Luxottica (a parent company of OPSM) has done its best to keep the union out, but we’ve finally been able to negotiate a better deal for these workers.”
The lab workers have won:
- guaranteed pay rises
- better redundancy terms
- better skills recognition
- better protection for union representation and activity.
Luxottica employs 200 workers in its Eyebiz Laboratories, making lenses for glasses sold in OPSM stores nationwide. The laboratory workers, covered by the AMWU, have had to run a long campaign for a separate union agreement to the company’s thousands of retail employees.
However, Luxottica has continually offered non-union national agreements to its entire workforce, including thousands of retail workers in OPSM stores.
The lab workers have time and time again been out-voted by the retail workers who are on the whole younger and more temporary with different concerns.
Earlier this year, the lab workers signed a petition calling on Luxottica to negotiate a separate agreement for them with the AMWU as their representative.
Lab workers have had several concerns with the non-union agreement, the biggest being an absence of guaranteed pay rises.
Annual pay rises were subject to performance appraisals.
“The appraisals don't deliver,” says Mark. “If the boss liked you, you might get a decent raise. If the boss didn’t like you, you might not. There was no guarantee of a pay rise year to year.”
Other concerns were a bonus system with criteria that could rarely be met and a classification structure that didn’t recognise skills gained in the workplace.
Luxottica dismissed the petition and developed a new, national, non-union agreement, but that agreement wasn’t approved by the Federal Government’s Workplace Authority.
In August, the 200 lab workers signed another petition calling on Luxottica to negotiate with the AMWU.
Finally in September, Luxottica management agreed to meet the AMWU bargaining team.
The AMWU has now negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding setting out conditions for the Eyebiz lab workers above and beyond the national Luxottica agreement.
• an immediate pay rise of 5%, followed by 4% and 4% in subsequent years not linked to performance;
• improved redundancy conditions;
• enshrined rights for union delegates;
• improved accessibility to the bonus scheme and
• consultation on paid parental leave.
Mark Hoban says “this has been a long-running issue and it’s a great outcome”