The Guardian 13 July, 2005

Technical workers fight for raise

A zero percent pay rise offered in a non-union collective agreement by EDS to technical employees had driven them to seek union assistance, says the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia (APESMA).

A survey conducted by APESMA revealed that over 80% of employees at EDS support union-negotiated collective agreement and 65% believed their salaries were well below or below the norm. Morale at the IT giant was "poor or very poor" according to 60% of employees.

With 2004 global revenue in excess of $20 billion, EDS employs close to 5000 people in Australia and has offices in Victoria, ACT, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. The collective agreement proposed by the company is an insult to employees.

"The proposed agreement enshrines the EDS internal individual salary review process and fails to address the issue of remuneration. In a significant proportion of cases, employees have not received a salary increase for up to four years", said APESMA Chief Executive John Vines

"Staff morale is very low at EDS and APESMA is keen to step up and seek to address the employees' concerns by negotiating with the employer."

"We have good support from employees, most of whom are calling out for our assistance. Membership is building and our core goal is to ensure the concerns of the employees are properly addressed.

"These information technology professionals are entitled to reasonable annual salary increases along with appropriate working conditions and entitlements, most of which they are yet to receive.

"Access to fair and reasonable working conditions is a right all employees should be entitled to", Mr Vines said.

Over 68% respondents of the survey also rated their employer in terms of the quality of training and development as fair or poor.

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