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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

IAG warned of industrial action over pay dispute

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The Finance Sector Union (FSU) says IAG staff are set to take industrial action over an in-principle pay and conditions agreement that has been wound back following the COVID-19 outbreak.

The FSU says the company had agreed to a 2% salary increase over three years, with the deal about to be finalised in March as Australia was placed into lockdown, but IAG has reneged and is offering only 1% for the first two years and 1.5% for a third.

“We don’t go looking to take industrial action unless it is warranted, but in this case the members have said to us the offer is simply not good enough,” FSU National Assistant Secretary Nathan Rees told

“IAG have walked back from what their initial offer was, and staff are pretty angry about it and rightly so.”

The insurer has been notified that the case for protected industrial action is being taken to the Fair Work Commission, paving the way for possible disruptions such as rolling stoppages, bans on contact with customers or bans on the use of home internet connections.

“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,” Mr Rees said.

IAG has provided financial assistance for employees setting up at home, but Mr Rees says that has to be seen within a bigger picture, including potential rental-space savings available to companies from having a dispersed workforce.

“That is a saving for IAG if they choose to pursue it, as it is for lots of other businesses that are changing their business model during and after COVID,” he said.

Mr Rees says there are about 8000 employees at IAG who are covered by the agreement and a “substantial proportion” of those are members of the union.

The FSU says the proposed agreement also fails to include “job security” and “working from home” clauses and 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,” Mr Rees said.

An IAG spokesman told its employees have worked "incredibly hard" supporting customers but it is "not immune" from the impact of COVID-19.

"We believe our EA proposal achieves the right balance in meeting the needs of our people and our business," he said.

"We have proposed a solid package of benefits that is competitive, provides us with flexibility and stability and is reflective of our current business performance and the challenging operating environment.

"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.

"While it is up to our FSU members to vote on any proposed industrial action, our focus remains on ensuring the best outcome for all our employees, our business and supporting our customers."