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Employment Relations, Government VIC

AWU Calls for Fair Treatment of ARV Workers: Industrial Action This Weekend

Australian Workers' Union 2 mins read

This weekend, AWU members are taking to the slopes for industrial action, potentially causing major headaches for alpine goers.

Lift operations may cease, car parking services could be disrupted, ski and snowboarding runs might not be set up, snow clearance from roads may be halted, and leisure activities along with essential facilities could face significant impacts.

The AWU is calling on the Victorian government to address the unfair treatment of Alpine Resorts Victoria (ARV) employees.

The Victorian alpine industry, a cornerstone of the state's economy generating $2.14 billion of economic activity annually, relies heavily on the essential services provided by ARV workers.

These workers perform critical duties including snow clearing, snow grooming, snow making, traffic management, ski patrolling, land management, waste management, asset maintenance, property management, and facilitating alpine leisure activities.

Without these dedicated employees, the Victorian alpine industry would cease to function.

Despite their indispensable role, ARV employees are some of the only unsalaried public servants in Victoria who do not receive weekend penalty rates, due to ARV’s proposed "winter span of hours."

Mt Buller and Stirling employees are the only ARV employees who currently benefit from weekend penalty rates and higher rates for working between 7 pm-7 am. However, ARV aims to remove these weekend provisions, leaving their employees without fair compensation.

Weekends are the busiest times for ARV, generating the most income and highest visitation rates.

Outside of daylight hours are when some of ARV’s most hazardous work is performed, often below 0 degrees Celsius.

It is unjust that these workers are denied the same entitlements as other public servants in Victoria.

In response to this lack of weekend penalties and fair compensation for non-daylight hours, our members across the alpine resorts are preparing to take industrial action.

ARV CEO Amber Gardner is not being transparent with its staff and the public by claiming that services will not be impacted.

The AWU is committed to transparency and wants the public to understand the potential consequences of this dispute. If our members' key issues are not addressed, the following disruptions could occur across the Victorian alpine industry this school holidays:

• Lift operations may cease
• Car parking services may be disrupted
• Ski and snowboarding runs may not be set up
• Snow clearance from roads may not be performed
• Leisure activities and essential facilities may be significantly impacted

We will continue to bargain in good faith with the employer to reach a fair outcome.

Without a fair offer, impacts to alpine resort services will begin as early as this weekend.

We call on the Victorian Labor Government to refrain from stripping Mt Buller of weekend penalty rates and to end the discrimination against other alpine workers who have been without them.

Treasurer Tim Pallas is responsible for funding this vital public service.

ARV’s own research has identified that annual business profits in the Victorian alpine industry are $121 million.

Meanwhile, the cost of providing a fair span of hours with weekend penalty rates would be just $1.2 million per 12-week snow season.

The government must lead by example in ensuring workers receive a fair slice of the pie.

The AWU urges the Victorian government to intervene and ensure that ARV employees receive the same treatment and compensation as other public servants.

The dedicated workers of ARV deserve recognition and fair remuneration for their hard work and the vital services they provide to the Victorian alpine industry.

Media Contact: Sasha Dougherty 0438 498 305 communications@awu.net.au

AWU Organiser: James Newbold 0439 010 063 james.newbold@awu.net.au

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