IBM negotiates with union after failed appeal

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IBM negotiates with union after failed appeal

Workplace tribunal rules against Big Blue.

IBM has begun bargaining with the Australian Services Union following a failed attempt to overturn orders to negotiate.

On April 23, national workplace tribunal Fair Work Australia ordered IBM to bargain with the union for a workplace agreement for infrastructure operators at its Baulkham Hills facility.

IBM appealed the decision and filed a stay application last Wednesday, arguing that the union may not be eligible to represent its employees.

But the tribunal declined to issue the stay in a hearing on Monday, when senior deputy president Alan Boulton determined that IBM "did not have an arguable case with a reasonable chance of success", the union said.

IBM responded to the the union's demands to meet yesterday and notified its Baulkham Hills employees of its intention to bargain for a collective agreement.

The union was pushing to expedite negotiations, as it believed IBM would announce plans to send 17 jobs offshore its facility this week.

But IBM spokesman Matt Mollett would not disclose details of its plans when questioned by iTnews yesterday.

"We continue to work directly with our employees to ensure their individual interests are central throughout the redeployment process," he said.

"In addition to redeployment opportunities, IBM provides comprehensive support services including fully funded career transition programs for affected employees."

The union's NSW branch secretary Sally McManus welcomed IBM's intention to negotiate, claiming a "world first" in forcing IBM to collectively negotiate with its workers.

"We want to reach an agreement with IBM and we have presented them with those issues we wish to bargain about," she said.

"High on our list of priorities are the rights for workers who face redundancy because of IBM's stated intention to move work to India and China.

"We look forward to our negotiations and welcome IBM's acceptance that they need to negotiate according to the laws for workers in Australia."

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