ARPANSA bargaining

Despite the holiday period and a number of staff still on leave or just about to return only next week, ARPANSA management are asking you to vote on your Enterprise Agreement for the first time next Tuesday. The access period opened yesterday. To make sure you’re informed all staff are urged to attend our EA Session on Thursday at 2pm in the Swan Room. For NSW members the 3rd Level Conference Room has been booked so you can videoconference in.

The ballot will be open for one day only on Tuesday 24 February. Your vote will only count if you are there on the day.

The CPSU recommends all staff Vote No. Here’s why…..

1. Cuts to consultation and delegate rights

  • The right to be consulted on changes before they are made has been removed. This means that your duties or role could change without you having the ability to influence the decision, or you could be made to do shift work without your consent.
  • The proposed agreement removes delegate rights entirely – workplace delegates and representatives will have no right to meet with members, to spend time analysing important documents such as your proposed EA, to use meeting rooms or to carry out their representative roles in “paid time”. We all rely on delegates to do important work like negotiate these agreements- we can’t afford to lose them.

2. Low pay is not OK

  • A pay rise of 6% means a 1% rise per year over the 6 years i.e the 3 years spent bargaining and the 3 year life of the Agreement.
  • There is no recognition that staff have endured 36 months without a pay rise as the cost of living has risen – no form of recompense in recognition of staff’s patience, hard work and professional approach to serving the public over this period.
  • No sign-on bonus as per the last EA.

3. Removal of most “Miscellaneous Leave”

  • The current agreement allows staff to access leave for a range of purposes not covered by personal or annual leave including study bank; blood bank; participation in major sporting events; attendance at FWA; short term volunteer processes; household emergencies and natural disasters - the proposed agreement strips these rights from the agreement.

4. All policy and companion documents are unenforceable

  • Rights in policy or “companion documents” will not be legally enforceable. Even if ARPANSA claims to be putting rights and conditions into policy, policy is not legally enforceable and the union can no longer make sure employees can access those rights.
  • Policy gives no protection. Policies can be changed at any time without employees’ permission. We have already seen ARPANSA adopt the Government’s Bargaining Policy. There is no reason to believe it would not follow any future Government policy or APSC Directive affecting its employees.
  • Rights and conditions gone forever. Once rights and conditions are removed from agreements, they are very difficult to win back.

5. Voting NO makes a difference

  • CPSU has a multi-pronged plan to get members a decent bargaining outcome  and it’s working.
  • Pressure on Government is mounting after sustained No Votes in  other Agencies including the Fair Work Commission- 67% NO, DHS- 74% NO, CSIRO- 70% NO, Department of Immigration and Border Protection- 82% NO. 
  • By Voting NO, you will continue to benefit from the further positive shifts in bargaining we are gaining from the Government and the APSC on top of those achieved so far. 

What does this all mean

In simple terms, this agreement is a cut to our existing conditions. It replaces legally enforceable rights with “policy” documents which can be changed at any time and provide no protection or security to employees. It remains a package that relies on weakening our enforceable rights and offers a pay proposal with no recognition of the 3 years without a pay rise.

The Government’s Bargaining Policy

This EA is a slight improvement on the first offers seen by staff across the APS in 2015, but it remains a package that relies on weakening our enforceable rights and offers a pay proposal with no recognition of the three years without a pay rise.

Here is how a witness to the recent Senate Inquiry into the Government’s Bargaining Policy described the effect of the policy on the staff of the Department of Human Services (Centrelink etc.):

These cuts are unacceptable, and will continue to be unacceptable, to a workforce composed of average income earners with mortgages to pay, families to feed, and a need for workplace conditions that allow them to balance the two. The three years they have spent without any pay increase is particularly galling when compared with the Department Secretary, Kathryn Campbell, whose pay has risen by 7.5 per cent (just under $50 000) since 2013.4” (see Siege of attrition: the Government's APS Bargaining Policy

What can I do to support my colleagues?

Vote No! We are working hard to protect things that are important to our members. If you agree with us and are not yet our member Join with us so we can improve our workplace together.

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