Govt rejects report into public sector bargaining

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Govt rejects report into public sector bargaining

The federal government has comprehensively rejected a Senate report into its public sector bargaining policy.

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The federal government has comprehensively rejected a Senate report into its public sector bargaining policy.

Out of 17 recommendations made by the Senate Committee, 15 were rejected outright and Canberra took note of a further two. The government response argues that the recommendations are already provided for in the existing Fair Work Act, or that the public sector pay claims are unreasonable given that the federal budget is in “significant deficit”. 

Alternatively, the government rejected recommendations on the grounds that premise of the recommendation was invalid. For instance, it rejected recommendation four, which recommends that ministers ensure that agencies affected when government changes are encouraged to reach enterprise agreements that align pay and conditions without loss. 

A long-running dispute between the Australian Public Service and the government began about 18 December 2013 when the Community and Public Sector Union wrote to the-then Minister for Employment in preparation for new enterprise bargaining. 

In late March 2014 the Abbott Government released its Public Sector Workplace Bargaining Policy; about 95 out of over 100 agencies were affected. 

The policy stated: “Agencies can only negotiate remuneration increases which are affordable, consistent with Australian government policy, and offset by genuine productivity gains which satisfy the Australian Public Service Commissioner.”

Since then there have been extensive negotiations with repeated offers, counter-offers, votes and industrial action at a variety of public departments. 

Of the six senators on the panel, the majority was formed from three ALP senators and one greens senator. The dissenters were from the National Party and the Liberal Party.

Click here for details of the original report.

The government’s response can be found here.
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