Defence staff vote 58% No to sink third dud deal

Defence staff have voted 58.4% No to a flawed enterprise agreement proposal, striking the latest blow to the Turnbull Government’s failed public sector bargaining policy.

More than 15,000 people voted against the deal as Defence becomes the latest major Commonwealth agency where staff have rejected agreements framed under the policy at least three times.

The margin of the Defence vote has grown with each ballot, following previous rejections of 55% No in May and 51% No in March. Participation was also at record levels with 84% of eligible staff participated in the ballot.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “Just days after Minister Cash rejected the outcomes of the Senate Inquiry into this three year dispute, Defence staff have delivered another damning indictment of the Turnbull Government’s public sector bargaining policy. This is now the third time Defence staff have voted No to dud deals framed under the policy, and it’s telling the margin of the defeat has grown each time.”

“This mess in Defence started three years ago with an attack on ADF pay and conditions and it's still not fixed. Minister Michaelia Cash’s pretence there isn't a problem with Government’s bargaining policy looks completely threadbare when the opposition in a major agency like Defence is growing each time they vote.”

“It beggars belief that the Government has a clear problem – more than 100,000 public sector workers stuck without new agreements after three years of wrangling – and a clear solution in the form of sensible recommendations from the Senate inquiry into this mess, yet Minister Cash hasn't met us in over a year to discuss possible solutions.”

“The CPSU is continuing to do its part by compromising and working constructively towards resolving this dispute as quickly as possible, and we remain ready to speak with Minister Cash, Prime Minister Turnbull or anyone else in Government towards that end. What we will not accept is our members being starved out through a nasty three years wage freeze, punished for not accepting the loss of their rights and conditions.”

“Over 600 people told their personal stories to the Senate Inquiry, showing the human cost of going without a pay rise for so long, the worries for their families if they lose these rights and the impact on morale and services. Government needs to hear their call and implement the Senate inquiry’s recommendations to end this impasse.” 

“Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support staff in the Department of Human Services have also this week launched another round of strong strike action while No votes continue to come in from agencies both big and small.”