ABC management snubs government with new enterprise agreement

ABC management snubs government with new enterprise agreement

This item was originally published by Fairfax media

ABC employees are getting a new pay deal, one with the potential to spark another blow-up between the broadcaster and the Coalition government.

Workers have voted by a margin of 71 per cent to accept an new enterprise agreement, containing new provisions for specified domestic violence leave, a more generous parental leave scheme and a 2 per cent pay rise, back paid until July 1

The new agreement is in open defiance of the government's plea that the ABC's new deal be in line with its tough workplace bargaining policy, which expressly forbids back pay and strictly limits "enhancements" to workplace entitlements.

The Coalition is locked in bitter conflict with public sector unions over the issue of specified leave for domestic violence victims, with Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, who is opposed to the entitlement, accused this week of snubbing a conference with the states which was due discuss the issue.

Public servants, including those at the Prime Minister's own department have been told specified domestic violence leave is an "enhancement" to working conditions and unacceptable under the Coalition's tough public sector bargaining framework.

The ABC's 5000 workers will get a pay rise of 2 per cent per year for the three year deal, broadly in line with what has been offered to public servants, and they will be entitled to seven days domestic violence leave and maternity leave will be boosted from 14 weeks to 16 weeks, with 2 to 4 weeks supporting partner leave.

Women at the ABC will be paid their superannuation while taking time off to have their children, in a bid to close the "super gap" for women. 

One ABC workplace union, the CPSU, concedes it had to make some concessions around rostering and some other "downsides" but the union said it was pleased overall with the outcome.

"ABC staff have now secured a modest pay rise while holding onto the vast majority of their rights and conditions and gaining important new benefits that should be provided by all modern employers," the union's national secretary Nadine Flood said.

"Even better, they've done so without a long and divisive fight with their bosses." 

"There couldn't be clearer evidence that it's the Turnbull Government that's to blame for the Commonwealth bargaining impasse.

"It's the reason why three-quarters of these workers still don't have a new agreement after nearly three years."

The ABC, Senator Cash and Senator Fifield's offices have been contacted for comment.


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