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Government 'making it easier to sack workers', CPSU claims


Phillip Thomson

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood says the plan to fund a pay rise through the loss of nearly 700 jobs is "ridiculous".

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood says the plan to fund a pay rise through the loss of nearly 700 jobs is "ridiculous". Photo: David Tease

Bargaining for agreements affecting tens of thousands of public servants have kicked off and the Community and Public Sector Union has accused the government of using negotiations to make it easier to sack workers.

Talks regarding agreements for many of the 165,000 federal bureaucrats nationally are underway after the Department of Human Services (DHS) started negotiations last week and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) began bargaining on Monday.

It is understood the Department of Agriculture also started bargaining with staff this week while Defence has sent a newsletter to staff before bargaining has even begun by saying it wants to slow the progression of staff through pay grades. 

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) national secretary Nadine Flood said proposals already on the table at DHS, the Department of Agriculture and the Tax Office included the reduction in the amount of time workers had to find a new job before they were made involuntarily redundant.

She said fewer consultations with staff about major job cuts and making it harder for unions to represent employees during redundancy rounds were also being put forward in official bargaining but would not detail which departments or agencies had made the proposals.

''It’s clear the government’s attack on job security will be a flashpoint in these negotiations," Ms Flood said.

Ms Flood said the government’s bargaining policy directed all federal agencies to streamline agreements and, under the "guise of streamlining", agencies were trying to remove provisions protecting employees’ rights when jobs were cut.

The DHS had about 30,000 staff while the ATO had about 20,000, according to budget papers. 

The Department of Defence was yet to start bargaining but a newsletter to staff had informed employees that it may be delayed further before negotiations began.

The Defence Enterprise Collective Agreement (DECA) agreement was arguably one of the most complex in the public service, staff were told.

The newsletter confirmed Defence wanted to slow thousands of bureaucrats moving up the pay grades and reaffirmed the federal government's hardline stance on pay.  

"To be clear, if we can’t meet the productivity and affordability requirements of the bargaining policy, there won’t be a pay increase," the newsletter said. 

The Defence newsletter confirmed the department wanted to increase the standard working week to 38 hours and remove paid days off at Christmas which at the moment were not counted as annual leave.

Canberra MP and shadow parliamentary secretary for defence Gai Brodtmann said the tough bargaining environment would increase pressure on the Commonwealth's public service workforce which will be reduced by 16,500.

''The Abbott government is cutting over 2,400 civilian Defence jobs over the next four years, and has increased the efficiency dividend by a further 0.25 per cent," she said. 

''The Abbott government’s budget has significantly increased cost of living pressures, through the petrol tax hike, GP co-payment and increased cost of prescriptions.''

''These negotiations are between the government and employees, but it is important that wages keep up with the cost of living."


  • The work in the PS is no different to work outside the PS and as such public servants should work under the same conditions as other employees.

    Dont get me wrong as a former public servant I've enjoyed these extra conditions, but I've also been hampered by trying to get rid of dead wood employees by the nanny state employment conditions.

    Basic entitlements (leave, personal leave, super etc) should be the same for all workers regardless of industry.

    Date and time
    June 24, 2014, 9:45AM
    • I agree, I love my APS job and Im good at it. I am a high achiever and I am ethical which is more than I can say for some of my colleagues. I work with people who simply should not be employed in the APPs. Goodness knows they wouldn't last a day in the private sector. The ones who abuse their entitlements are the ones who've spent their entire working life in the public service, they know they can't be sacked! That's their attitude. They are away more than they are at work and when they are at work they spend more time eating at their desks or on their mobiles and IPads than they do working. These pieces of deadwood are carried by other staff who meet their deadlines. It's interesting to point out that those of us who've worked in the private sector tend to not take our entitlements for granted, we do the right thing. I agree, everyone whether they be a public service or private sector employee, we should all have the same basic entitlements and I mean basic.

      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 3:39AM
  • Oh Boo Hoo. Cry me a river Nadine. Look up the meaning of bargaining in a dictionary sometime.

    Date and time
    June 24, 2014, 10:16AM
    • Unions boses like Ndine are only concerned about ther own self intrests, and not jobs, if they where really cocerned about jobs, and barganing, they wouldn't be stealng members money, to renovate their own houses and other pleasuers and lxuaries that money can buy.
      They also would be supporting Tony Abbott to reapeal the useless carbon tax which is only shifting Austrlian carbon, and many jobs offshore

      Benson Kane
      Date and time
      June 24, 2014, 12:26PM
      • I am very sorry but this article is completely out of step with the facts. The vast majority (like 99.9%) of redundancies in the APS are voluntary - just people cashing in on the chance to grab some cash in the few years before retirement.

        Public servants are paid well, have fabulous conditions, and work hard - very few of us are the entitlement driven whingers that Nadine speaks for.... it is just unfortunate that the minority gives us all a bad name.

        Tired and bored
        Date and time
        June 24, 2014, 10:11PM
        • I'm an APS employee and a CPSU member. I work in an environment that is "cushy" to say the least. Some staff sign on of a morning and proceed to make their breakfast (eg porridge or a toasted Sanger) and eat it at their desks. Are they that unorganised that they can't eat at home.? They say they eat and work, but this is not productive. They should not be signing on until ready to work. We have tight weekly timeframes of which many aren't met because some staff spend much of their day on their smartphones or IPads which sit on their desks. They can't find the time to meet their deadlines but can find time to update their Facebook page, check their online dating sites, and send hundreds of text messages throughout the day. Theses are adults I am talking about, men and women. Morning tea is a free for all for some staff, it is a privilege not an entitlement and it's nothing for staff to take 20mins to 1/2 to get their coffees from various cafés. Some women take off shopping at lunch time for an 1- 1 1/2 hrs, come back to work and sit at their desks and proceed to eat the lunch they should have had at lunch time while they work! Staring at a computer, hitting a couple of keys every now and then while you eat isn't productive. Despite complaints management does nothing. We are not paid to eat at our desks, we are paid to work. I can't blame the government for wanting to cutback entitlements when so many APS employees abuse them. They need to get rid of the deadwood of which there is plenty in my business unit!

          Date and time
          June 25, 2014, 3:27AM
          Comments are now closed

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