National

Organised crime busters' wages and conditions to be smashed

Public servants who fight organised crime for the Australian Crime Commission have been asked to give up any pay rises for the next three years.

Bosses at the commission also want to remove legal protections around superannuation, maternity leave and redundancy rights for the 524 public servants at the agency.

It is the lowest offer yet made to any group of workers in the 160,000-strong federal bureaucracy and the main union for ACC workers says the proposal is a "new low" for the Australian Public Service and a "slap in the face" for the crime fighters.

The commission is Australia's national criminal intelligence agency with specialist investigative capabilities and is dedicated to understanding and combatting serious and organised crime of national significance.

But senior executive Jonathan Nicholl has told all the commission's staff in a video bulletin that the agency's budget has shrunk from $99 million to $87 million in just five years

Mr Nicholl said management had struggled to put together a enterprise bargaining offer under the Abbott government's hardline public sector industrial policies.

The senior manager said that "productivity offsets" called for by the policy had been considered.

"These include removal of Christmas shutdown days, increased working hours ... and an increase in the number of days before higher duties are paid," Mr Nicholl said.

"The amount of money which could be saved and attributed to a salary increase by adoption of these measures is very modest.

"In this context, the position I will take on behalf of the ACC's management team to the bargaining meeting is for ACC staff to retain all of their current entitlements, to offer a zero per cent salary increase over the three-year life of the agreement, and to remain committed to preserving ACC jobs as far as possible."

The agency's bosses have also followed other departments in wanting the enterprise bargaining agreement "streamlined" in a move unions say will strip away the legal protections for key workers' rights.

But Nr Nicholl denied that entitlements were under threat.

"I want to be very clear that this does not mean that you will lose any entitlements," he said.

"They will still be in either legislation or in an ACC policy.

"As you will know, ACC policies are subject to extensive consultation before they are enacted or modified and the executive is committed to their retention."

Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood said the ACC's offer showed the government's bargaining policies were now hitting Australia's front-line community safety workers.

"It's a ludicrous, nasty proposition that shows just how extreme this government's bargaining policy is," Ms Flood said

"To listen to this government you'd think public servants are all faceless bureaucrats with cushy jobs.

"The reality is just like the hard-working staff of Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Defence, Crime Commission staff are on the front line of keeping our community safe.

"These are elite crime fighters, busting major drug importation rings and bikie gangs.

"They feel this offer is a slap in the face.

"These men and women have some of the toughest jobs in the country and they've already endured years of deep cuts and job losses.

"They've been asked to do more with less but this represents a new low."