Members of the Finance Sector Union (FSU) have voted to take protected industrial action against IAG, claiming the insurer has refused to honour agreements on pay and conditions made before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in Australia.
The union says IAG is using the pandemic “as cover” to walk away from an ‘in-principle’ agreement which was about to be finalised when Australia went into lockdown in March.
According to the FSU, instead of the previously agreed two per cent salary increases over three years, IAG is offering one per cent for the first two years and 1.5 per cent for the third.
FSU National Assistant Secretary Nathan Rees said IAG had been notified that staff at the insurer will take their case for protected industrial action to the Fair Work Commission.
“Workers at IAG have been working hard through devastating bushfires, floods and now COVID-19 to maintain services to customers only to be rewarded by a pay offer that falls short of what is reasonable,” said Rees.
“Having reached agreement in principle, IAG has spent the last several months dragging its feet before telling staff they weren’t worth a decent pay rise and walking away from its previous offer.
“This is an appalling breach of faith by an employer which fails to understand that a company’s greatest asset is its staff, who have worked hard through difficult circumstances this year to keep IAG in business.”
Rees said IAG has further angered its staff by refusing to include ‘job security’ and ‘working from home’ clauses in the agreement.
“IAG has now insisted that not even its paltry pay offer is guaranteed. Instead, pay increases will be related to performance and meeting targets. IAG staff believe those targets are unreasonable because they haven’t been uniformly adjusted, even though economic circumstances have changed radically. Our members at IAG are calling on the insurer to think again and revise its offer before it further erodes staff loyalty and morale,” said Rees.
An IAG spokesperson told ‘The Motley Fool’ that the new offer strikes the “right balance” between the needs of its business and staff following the onset of COVID-19.
“We’re not immune from the significant impacts of the pandemic – not only from what we’ve experienced this year, but into the future,” said the spokesperson.
“Importantly, we believe this agreement will see IAG better placed to be able to maintain high levels of employment as we manage through the recession.”