Tuesday, November 22, 2016


NOV 21, 2016

Staff in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) have rejected the Turnbull Government’s dodgy public sector bargaining policy for an unprecedented fourth time, voting 54% No to a proposed enterprise agreement framed under the policy.

Management’s offer was rejected by a greater margin than the most recent ballots in the agency – 51% No in March and 52% No in December 2015. Participation was exceptionally high with 87% of staff having their say on management’s proposal.

The result was released as two other agreements were also rejected, with 55% No votes in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the National Museum of Australia.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “These latest ballot results again underline how ridiculous the Turnbull Government’s approach to public sector bargaining is and how difficult this is for workers. People face the unpalatable choice of a third Christmas without a pay rise or giving up rights that matter to them and their families. Many workers have told union representatives how difficult these decisions are.”

“DAWR staff doing critical work in biosecurity and supporting Australia’s important agricultural industries deserve better, as do the hardworking staff at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the National Museum.”

“Workers in Agriculture and Water Resources have now been forced to vote No four times, while the Government’s bargaining policy means management’s hands remain tied so they can’t make the simple and reasonable changes that would result in an acceptable offer.”

“Just in the past few weeks we’ve seen Agriculture and Water Resources staff vote No for an unprecedented fourth time and similar rejections for the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and National Museum, while workers in two of the Commonwealth’s largest agencies, Human Services and Immigration and Border Force, have voted down agreements by large margins for a third time each. It’s just nuts.”

“Today marks three years this dispute has been running, yet we’ve still got 100,000 Commonwealth workers without new agreements and a Government pretending it’s all going swimmingly. It’s not good enough. The CPSU remains absolutely committed to getting a fair deal for these people, and we remain ready and willing to sit down with the Turnbull Government to make that happen.”

“We’ve put detailed recommendations to the Senate Inquiry into Commonwealth bargaining on how the Government could fix this mess, given that Minister Cash hasn’t spoken to us in over a year. Starting with changes to the incredibly harsh bargaining policy that requires workers to give up existing conditions, bans them from any improvements and offers not one dollar for the last three years.” 

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