DIBP arbitration continues

Hearings continue next week in the biggest industrial relations case since Qantas grounded its fleet. CPSU members in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection have been fighting for a fair deal in enterprise bargaining for more than four years, and the case is now being arbitrated by the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission.

Bargaining in DIBP was sent to arbitration more than a year ago, after the Fair Work Commission halted industrial action by CPSU members including strikes at international airports. DIBP is the only agency that has been able to access arbitration in the FWC, which gives the capacity to get an outcome that is not in line with the Turnbull Government’s unfair bargaining policy.

Our witness list for the case includes former Treasurer Wayne Swan and former Cabinet Minister Craig Emerson, as well as former Immigration Department First Assistant Secretary Christopher Callanan, three Professors and eight CPSU members working in DIBP.

The CPSU has cross-examined the Commonwealth’s witnesses, and we’re confident that this has highlighted some weaknesses in the Commonwealth’s case. CPSU witnesses are scheduled to give evidence in December, and hearings start again next week.

The Commission has also recommended that the parties meet for further conciliation to try and narrow the issues in dispute. The CPSU is participating in these discussions in good faith to try and get fair outcomes for members. But for this process to be meaningful, we expect DIBP to drop their continued attacks on members’ rights and conditions.

DIBP staff have gone more than four years without a pay rise, but Ministers Michaelia Cash and Peter Dutton are still pushing to cut real wages and for some staff even to cut their take-home pay.

DIBP was the only agency even able to access arbitration through Fair Work. CPSU members know that the industrial rules are broken and we need to change them. The rules favour aggressive bosses over ordinary working people – that’s why CPSU members, together with the rest of the movement, are going to change the rules.