A major stoush has erupted between the AFL and hundreds of sacked staff, who a union claims have received 'nothing short of appalling' treatment.
A major stoush has erupted between the AFL and hundreds of sacked staff, who a union claims have received 'nothing short of appalling' treatment.

Axed footy staff to fight for jobs

Unions have lodged formal dispute proceedings against the AFL at the Fair Work Commission over its "fundamentally flawed" staff cuts process.

The United Services Union, representing multiple AFL workers, filed papers with the industrial umpire at 3pm on Thursday.

Up to 200 rank-and-file AFL staff across the country will be made redundant in the coming weeks under a savage cost-cutting plan.

The union claims the AFL's "treatment of loyal staff" has been "nothing short of appalling", condemning league boss Gillon McLachlan for using "a video call from his car (on Monday) to tell staff that hundreds of jobs will be gone in a matter of weeks".

Claims the AFL recently "reduced the maximum redundancy entitlement from 52 weeks down to 26 weeks" are included in the Fair Work complaint.

"The AFL claims to have consulted with employees for months, but our members overwhelmingly feel they have been left in the dark and actively excluded from the restructure process," USU organiser Troy Dunne said.

"Instead of genuine consultation, their futures are decided behind closed doors while they are stood down due to the pandemic.

"Unions have written to AFL management on a number of occasions, clearly outlining their legal obligations and imploring them to actively engage with staff and their representatives.

"Those efforts have been rebuffed at every turn, leaving us with no choice but to escalate this dispute to the independent industrial umpire, the Fair Work Commission."

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The league stood down about 80 per cent of its workforce in March and many have been told they will be required to reapply for their positions.

Up to 30 per cent of jobs are expected to be cut.

All AFL staff will be notified of their futures by September 15, with redundancies effective from October 16, but the Fair Work challenge could derail the league's intentions.

"The AFL has an obligation to play by the rules, which include a legal obligation to engage with the organisations that represent the interests of staff," Dunne said.

"We are not telling the AFL that they can't undertake a restructure - our members have been in no doubt for some time that there would be job cuts - but this action is about ensuring employees are treated with dignity and respect at all times.

"For all of the good the AFL does in the community, it appears they have abandoned the principles of equality and fairness when it comes to dealing with loyal staff."

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Originally published as Axed AFL staff to fight for jobs



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