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WA Wage Changes and Employment Contract?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Colesdad, 16 June 2015.

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  1. Colesdad

    Colesdad Member

    16 June 2015
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    I am currently seeking your advice on a matter, and I need some advice as to whether or not I am being subjected to unfair treatment regarding my current pay grade.

    I was originally employed in November 2013. My offer of employment was for a position of Serviceperson, which was agreed to by both parties. As expected I was supplied, as part of my offer of employment, a proposed payment rate based on my employment level and skill level, referred to as Employee Level H4 (which is deemed as a “Competent Service Person, Stores Person, Trades Assistant”)

    During the last 18 months both myself and my employer have formed a good relationship, and through mutual agreement my job role has changed to that of a Heavy Diesel Fitter (although I had not negotiated or signed a new employment contract that officially states my job title as a Heavy Diesel Fitter).

    Approximately 8 months ago I was given a pay rise to Employee Level H5a (which is deemed as “Advanced Service Person, Stores Person, Trades Assistant.” I also received confirmation of this pay rise via mail, and it also confirmed that my official title was a Service Person.

    My immediate Supervisor explained to me, prior to my pay increase, that even though I had been doing the duties of a Heavy Diesel Fitter, they were unable to put me in to the Employee Level of a Tradesperson (Employee Level H6 which is deemed as Entry Level Tradesperson), as I was still employed as a Service Person, and until I was qualified as a Heavy Diesel Fitter, my employment classification could not change.

    This I understood, and happily agreed to, as conversations had already transpired that I would be undertaking a “Trade Upskill” to improve on my pre-existing Light Vehicle Mechanic Trade Certification.

    At some stage since being given my pay rise, the title on my pay slip has changed to “Pay grade H5a” and my position title is stated as “Fitter, Heavy Diesel”, instead of the normal title of Serviceperson.

    Thinking nothing of this, work has continued as normal, including the near completion of my Trade Upskill (which is awaiting the final signature of my Maintenance Manager to deem me competent). In recent months, my employer has separated their mining division from their construction division, and rebranded the mining side of things under a different company name. With the recent fall in iron ore prices, it has been deemed it necessary to implement a major workplace change, which has ultimately meant all employees on site have had their pay rates cut by a certain percentage, dependent on occupation and title.

    With this change, all employees have been given a new employment contract with their job roles, titles, and their Employee Pay Levels.

    My new contract specifically states that my new offer of employment is for a role as a Heavy Diesel Fitter, and my classification group is H5a. When referring to the pay structure table which has been included in the new contract, there is no H5a pay level for a Heavy Diesel Fitter, the lowest is H6.

    Every other person in my workplace who has been offered employment as a Heavy Diesel Fitter has been offered the pay level of either H6, or higher, depending on experience.

    Within the contract it states “While working on the Project you shall be entitled to the following Composite Hourly Rates and Excess Hourly Rates as they apply to you in Your Classification and in lieu of the rates prescribed in the *** Mining Pty Limited Surface Mining Agreement 2012”

    Is it legal under employment law for my employer to employ me as a Heavy Diesel Fitter, yet place my classification at a level that does not correspond to a Tradesperson (according to their pay structure table)?

    I have talked in length with my Supervisor, Superintendent and our Human Resources Department regarding this incorrect structure within my new employment contract, unfortunately each party points the finger at the next, and I end up resolving nothing. Our new contract has come in to effect as of the 6th June 2015, and whilst I have not signed it to state that I agree to it, I did not take the voluntary redundancy that was on offer, and as such it was assumed that each employee who did not sign, but continued to work after the 6th June 2015 accepted the new offer of employment (as it stated in the new contract)
  2. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

    10 February 2015
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    Given that your employer's pay schedule is included with your employment contract (as well as the fact that it's a standard operating document that governs an employment term), it forms a part of that contract. If you aren't paid in accordance with the company's own pay policy then they have breached your contract. In other words, if your title and duties classify you as a level 6 in pay terms, then you are entitled to that pay.

    So keep pushing for the extra pay and if your employer doesn't want to comply, you should get in touch with your union.

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