Determinations further degrade workplace bargaining

Professionals Australia are calling on the Federal Government to loosen their restrictive approach to negotiating wages and conditions, as the government enterprise bargaining policy results in departments and agencies abandoning the process all together.

This week, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority became the latest agency to offer its workforce a 2% annual wage increase via a workplace determination, rather than by renegotiating their enterprise agreement which expires in November 2019.

Comments attributed to Professionals Australia ACT Director Dale Beasley:

“Under CASA’s proposal employees would get a 2% annual increase, without negotiations on any other conditions. While the government’s bargaining policy has made enterprise negotiations practically unworkable, this proposal removes the ability for employees to negotiate altogether.”

“We’ve seen this option gaining favour among management in the APS. The CASA announcement follows similar offers being made recently to staff at the Australian Sports Commission, Royal Australian Mint, Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Department of Industry Innovation and Science.”

“Our members are usually being asked to vote for their preferred option, but the choice is loaded. Many of these workplaces have already gone through one round of enterprise negotiations which were lengthy and adversarial because of the government’s restrictions. Now members are being given a choice between facing that again, or accepting a meagre wage increase and letting their EBA conditions stagnate”.

“Senator Cormann has repeatedly claimed that there is industrial harmony in public service workplaces as a result of the government’s stewardship. Nothing could be further from the truth. We’re seeing departments and agencies using workplace determinations to sidestep enterprise negotiations because of how unworkable the government has made the process.”

“Meanwhile the government’s efficiency dividends, staffing cap and over reliance on consultants is resulting in widespread restructuring in our members workplaces, often resulting in redundancies. It’s a mess.”

“If the government blindly cling to their disastrous approach to enterprise bargaining there is a serious threat to the technical capacity of scientific and technical agencies.

There are already serious issues with technical capacity at CASA, the government should allow their technical experts the full scope to negotiate how to fix those issues. The alternative is that the issues go unresolved, and that could have dire consequences.”

Media contact: Dale Beasley 0433 847 325