ABS Interviewers agreement ballot to go ahead this month

After a month of intense negotiation between your CPSU bargaining team and ABS management, we have reached a point where further negotiation is not likely to achieve any further positive results.

The restrictive nature of the Government’s bargaining policy had seen many of our members’ important rights and protections removed from the ABS draft EA. This included the right to pre-decision consultation and agreement, and key factors affecting job security.

There was a breakthrough last month.

The ABS draft EA recognised the PSOWG and established that the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the PSOWG could not be changed without the agreement of the PSOWG, remembering that the majority of members of the Working Group are Interviewers. As such, most of the issues that were of great concern to Interviewers have now been addressed in the Working Group TOR.

The key inclusion in the TOR

The PSOWG is the peak consultative forum between PSO Management, Interviewers and the CPSU. It’s role and purpose is to:

"Enable pre-decision consultation on significant national Interviewer work related issues where matters are discussed openly and with a genuine commitment to reach agreement. These significant issues include but are not limited to the implementation of the EA, changes to the Employment Conditions Manual (ECM), the terms of employment of ongoing, non-ongoing and casual Interviewers, the rights of workplace delegates and elected Interviewer representatives and any changes that are likely to lead to the redundancy of positions held by Interviewers."

Changes to the ECM

Any changes to the ECM are now subject to pre-decision consultation with the PSOWG and a commitment by ABS to genuinely seek agreement. There are new clauses in the ECM that cover the following conditions:

  • Confirming that only ongoing Interviewers can undertake MPS work unless agreed otherwise by the PSOWG.
  • Confirming that there are processes in place to manage and mitigate excess staff situations.
  • Confirming that MPS quarter months will be paid at grade 3.
  • Confirming the terms of the Charter of Delegates Rights.
  • Confirming that the ABS will work towards paying Interviewers fortnightly in arrears.

We have signed a memorandum of understanding that confirms:

  • There will be an increase in the Corporate Communication Allowance (CCA) to 14 hours each quarter for the term of the EA commencing June 10th.
  • There will be a one off payment to ongoing interviewers of 25 hours of CCA once a new offer is accepted.
  • The increase to grade 3 for MPS quarter months will be effective this May.
  • Interviewers will be paid 4 hours CCA on April 6th to read the draft EA.

This impressive list of achievements is a testament to all CPSU Interviewer members. You have remained strong and united. You did not waver from your commitment to undertake industrial action. You sent a message to ABS management that your voice had to be heard.

We have not achieved everything listed in our claim, specifically back pay, and as such, the CPSU bargaining team cannot endorse the proposed offer. However we also believe that we have reached a point where further negotiation is not likely to achieve any further positive results. We ask Interviewers to make their own assessment, and to accept or reject the offer in light of their assessment.

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