On Friday, the Australian Public Service Commission finally released the Australian Government Bargaining Policy. The Government has indicated that the policy should apply to non-Australian Public Service agencies, including CSIRO. Some of the main features are:
- ‘Streamlining’ to attempt to strip out enforceable conditions from enterprise agreements into unenforceable agency policies.
- No minimum pay rises, with all pay rises to be offset by measureable savings delivered through narrowly defined parameters on productivity and affordability.
- Extensive restrictions on improvements to conditions, including leave, superannuation and redundancy provisions.
- Multiple opportunities for the Agency Minister and the Public Service Minister to intervene during bargaining, including before ‘in-principle’ agreement is reached between union and management representatives in the bargaining room.
In addition, the Government has mandated that the Agency Minister, in our case Minister Ian Macfarlane, approve CSIRO’s bargaining position before bargaining negotiations can even commence. Early this year, CSIRO had indicated to the Staff Association that it had also elected to go through additional steps to have its bargaining position ‘approved’ through the CSIRO Executive Team and the CSIRO Board, following the release of the Government’s policy.
Clearly, the actions of the Government and CSIRO have deliberately disadvantaged staff, with the commencement of bargaining negotiations now still weeks away. The nominal expiry date of our current Enterprise Agreement is 16 August 2014.
By contrast, the Staff Association has consulted with members and has been ready to bargain since December 2013. As the bargaining campaign progresses, the Staff Association will hold both the Government and CSIRO accountable for these delays. Further updates on enterprise bargaining will be provided to members soon.