Turnbull bargaining agenda hurts women: IWD

Australia’s largest survey of working women has confirmed that the invaluable contribution made by thousands of women employed at Commonwealth agencies is threatened by the Turnbull Government’s continued attack on family-friendly working conditions.

The eighth edition of the CPSU’s What Women Want survey, with 84.2% of the 12,502 respondents working in the APS, confirms the most important issue to working women over the next year is flexible working hours.

The survey, which has been released to coincide with International Women's Day, has also found that women enjoy the work they do and value their right to a work/life balance, but feel increasingly under pressure.

The results reflect widespread anxiety among Commonwealth workers about the Government’s public sector bargaining policy, which forces agencies to remove long-standing rights and conditions that give working parents and carers some measure of certainty over their work location and hours.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “Increasing the participation rate of women in the workforce is one of the keys to lifting Australia’s productivity and maintaining our living standards, yet the Turnbull Government is continuing with its bizarre ideological attack on women working in the public sector.” 

“The Government’s retrograde bargaining policy is completely at odds with the private sector where many companies, like ANZ and Telstra, are now recognising that giving women flexibility provides their most productive staff, widens the available talent pool and drives innovation.”

“The Government has spent two years trying to strip family-friendly conditions for the around 150,000 people who work in the Commonwealth public sector, which would dangerously reduce the opportunities for women to take or continue in these roles.”

“Our survey has once again shown that being able to balance work with family and other responsibilities is crucial for women, which only strengthens our resolve to continue fighting for these essential entitlements.”

“Harsh budget cuts, job cuts and chronic understaffing have already taken a heavy toll on women working in the APS. The Government’s bargaining policy goes against all the evidence on how to attract and retain women. Prime Minister Turnbull has talked the talk on women in the workforce, now it’s time for him to walk the walk.”

The increasing pressure has meant an across the board decline in satisfaction with work for women in 2015 as compared with the survey results in 2013. These pressures are particularly pronounced for women in service delivery roles.

A copy of the survey can be found on the here, with a summary of the key findings on pages 4-5.

About the survey

The CPSU What Women Want survey has been conducted eight times since 2006. It is the largest survey of working women in Australia and seeks detailed views of working women on work, pay, superannuation, conditions, leave and more.

 The 2015/16 Survey had 12,502 respondents, 84.2% from APS, including 33.1% from DHS, plus significant participation from women in ACT and NT Governments. 40% of respondents have dependent children and 25% have regular caring responsibilities for others parents/parents-in-law.

The CPSU uses the results of the survey to inform its policy making and bargaining arrangements, and to lobby employers and the government on issues such as protecting parental leave, pay and retirement incomes.