National Archives staff vote 70% No to dud deal

Staff at the National Archives of Australia have formally rejected an enterprise agreement  for the first time in the agency’s history, with nearly 70% voting No to a deal constrained by the Government’s harsh and unworkable public sector bargaining policy.

The participation rate for the ballot was also higher than any held at NAA in more than 15 years, with 80% of eligible staff casting a vote.

A total of 69.6% of participants voted NO to a deal that would have stripped important rights and conditions in return for a poor pay offer that did not compensate workers for a wage freeze that has now stretched for more than 18 months.

CPSU Deputy Secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said: “Staff at the National Archives have never voted to reject an enterprise agreement before, so this strong result really underlines how unhappy these people are with how they are being treated by management and the Government.”

“This was an ugly offer that sought to strip staff of the rights and conditions that matter to them, including around flexible working hours, workplace representation and consultation on major decisions impacting on their lives.”

“The dissatisfaction of staff with the agreement has also been absolutely amplified by the destructively short-sighted budget cuts applied to NAA and other important cultural institutions in December’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. Those cuts not only threaten the job security of these dedicated and highly qualified professionals, but the integrity of the work they do.”

“Management has been sent a very clear message that this sort of dud deal isn’t going to fly with workers, but the reality is they can’t put a sensible offer on the table until the Government fixes its bargaining policy so the people who work in the public service can be treated fairly.”

“National Archives staff have now joined thousands of other workers to recently vote No, including workers at the Australian War Memorial, the Electoral Commission and the Commonwealth’s largest agency, the Department of Human Services. The evidence continues to mount showing that it’s time for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister Michaelia Cash to abandon the Tony Abbott and Eric Abetz playbook and work with us to fix this mess with a fair and reasonable outcome.”