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Professionals Australia union says Geoscience Australia wants to slash personal leave


Phillip Thomson

Reduction of personal leave, restrictions on how to use leave entitlements and access to higher duties, and changes to allowances are all on the agenda for enterprise bargaining agreements at Geoscience Australia, according to union officials.

The engineers union Professionals Australia said Geoscience Australia wanted to slash travel entitlements after it already revealed there would be a battle over working an extra 9 minutes a day, along with staff at other Commonwealth employers.

Professionals Australia said Geoscience Australia had also proposed changes to the redundancy retention period for employees.

The proposed reduction would affect people older than 45 who have not done 20 years service who have been made involuntarily redundant.

Professionals Australia ACT director David Smith said at the moment a staff member made involuntary redundant would have about 13 months before they would be forced to leave the organisation - a vital time when they could attempt to find another job.

Mr Smith said Geoscience's proposal would effectively reduce this by 6 months. 

A Geoscience Australia spokesperson said bargaining within the APS-wide bargaining framework had started, but no formal offers had been made to staff.

In a message to staff, Professionals Australia said there was a chasm between the parties in the negotiations and that was before any negotiation on remuneration.

In its tough bargaining framework released earlier this year, the federal government said there would be no pay rises for 160,000 federal public servants in the next three years, unless their departments or agencies could prove wage increases were linked to productivity gains.

Minister assisting Prime Minister Tony Abbott on the public service, Eric Abetz, put forward a framework earlier this year which included banning back-pay and sign-on bonuses.

Geoscience Australia recently commenced bargaining within the APS-wide bargaining framework. As negotiations are still continuing, with no formal offers having yet been made to staff, Geoscience Australia is unable to provide comment on this matter.


  • What are you on about? This has been happening since Howard’s government (and heavily used by the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd government). Agreements such as flex-time (brought in to benefit both employees (time off when needed for family/personal reasons) and employer (less paperwork by relegating minor absences to a process where one makes up the hours as opposed to processing leave applications)) has essentially been eliminated from the employee’s perspective – it is allowed only as needed by managers. Wage increases have been entirely dependent on proving productivity gains (including increasing productivity to cover the cost of the Gillard Federal Government bailout of the Bligh Queensland Government lack of flood insurance). Back pay for late Certified Agreements has been banned even though the delays were caused by the employer delaying negotiations.

    Really – what’s new here? This has already been happening for about a decade.

    Date and time
    June 19, 2014, 4:01PM
    • I understand sick leave is only an expense when leave is taken otherwise staff are paid normally - there is no payout for unused sick leave when leaving - it is a accrual of hours that is accrued for the time employed less any leave taken - maybe I have been missing something but I cannot see where there is a saving that can be traded off.

      Date and time
      June 19, 2014, 6:05PM
      • Really starting to wonder why I joined PS. Continuously ridiculed by the general public, live in a town that is hugely expensive, not even CPI wage increases for last few years and earn far less than what I can and did in private sector. I am proud of the work I do it is contributing to the Nation and I work more than the standard hrs, as do a lot of PS continue to erode all entitlements, denigrate the ps and no real pay increases mmm pay peanuts...........

        Date and time
        June 19, 2014, 8:13PM
        Comments are now closed

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