Defence staff vote 55% No

Defence staff vote 55% No in another blow to failed Government bargaining policy

Civilian staff in the Department of Defence have once again voted to reject a proposed enterprise agreement, with nearly 55% voting No to the deal framed under the Government’s failed public sector bargaining policy.

The result was an increased margin on the 51% No vote delivered in Defence in March, with a higher participation rate of 84%.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “This is an embarrassing result for Defence management and the Government. They threw massive resources into this ballot yet support for the unfair and unreasonable offer they put on the table went backwards. Defence staff have shown they are holding out for a fair deal.”

“Civilian public servants in Defence and uniformed Australian Defence Force personnel agree the way this Government has attacked their pay and conditions in this bargaining round is appalling.”

“This No vote shows Defence staff didn’t take kindly to misleading statements from the Department, falsely claiming that rights and conditions stripped out of agreements and moved into policy remained enforceable. We took that matter to the Fair Work Commission, forcing management to set the record straight.”

“Defence workers have told us they are also looking towards the looming federal election and the prospect that a change of Government could bring an end to this ugly and unnecessary dispute that’s dragged on for more than two years now. They know the Opposition has committed to rip up the Coalition’s bargaining policy, dump the attack on workplace rights and move to quickly and fairly resolve bargaining across the Commonwealth public sector.”

“By voting No Defence staff have ensured they retain important rights and conditions around things such as consultation, performance management and family-friendly clauses that allow people to juggle their working lives with their family responsibilities. The Government’s bargaining policy continues to stand in the way of fair agreements that protect those rights and decent pay outcomes.”

“The Budget has once again underlined the Government’s contemptuous and ideologically driven approach to the public sector and the critical role played by staff in Defence and other agencies, with another $1.9 billion arbitrarily cut from departments and between 3,000 and 4,500 jobs to be cut on top of the 18,000 jobs that have already been slashed under this Government.”