Agriculture offer cuts your rights and conditions

The Agriculture ballot opens at 9:00am (AEDT) tomorrow Friday, 11 December 2015 and closes at 23:59pm on  Wednesday, 16 December 2015.

Your CPSU bargaining team is recommending a NO vote, as the Department is trying to rush through a substandard offer that cuts many of your rights and conditions.

This agreement offer is substandard. Vote NO for a better deal

The Department has not listened. The offer to staff contains many of the same cuts to conditions as the last offer, which staff decisively rejected only two months ago.

The Department’s proposal will see hard-won rights and conditions cut or moved into unenforceable policy. The pay offer of 2% a year with no back-pay does not compensate for these cuts. When agreement delays are factored in the real pay offer is a paltry 1.3%.

Key rights and conditions that will be cut or moved to policy include:

  No ability to use personal leave for “unanticipated circumstances”, mandatory medical evidence for any more than 5 days all up in a year, and half-pay leave only for serious or chronic illness.

   Paid miscellaneous leave only for “exceptional circumstances" and restrictions on using recreation leave at half pay (week minimum).

   Removing your right to be consulted about impending decisions (such as how staffing reductions or restructures are managed) or to have a representative for any workplace matter.

   Definitions for your performance management standards will no longer require staff agreement.

   TOIL for ELs will no longer be required to be fair in relation to hours worked.

   Removal of the CSPP

   Changes to Leave fare assistance for remote localities.

If your rights are taken out of your agreement and put into policy, they can be removed or changed at any time. In some agencies that have voted yes this is already happening!

Just weeks after a small majority of workers said yes in DSS, management moved to change their consultative arrangements in a way that meant union delegates were no longer being consulted.

Vote no for a better deal

It’s clear the Government is trying to rush votes on substandard offers out in multiple APS agencies before Christmas. The good news is where we secure strong No vote results and take industrial action, we are winning improvements to the Government’s original offer. This will continue.

By voting No, Agriculture employees will be able to win further improvements and a fairer bargaining deal that protects your rights and conditions.

The Department makes some wild claims

In a recent email, the Department has taken issue with our claim that rights and conditions are being cut or moved into policy. We have set out a clear list of conditions and rights that are at risk under the Department’s offer. Once those rights are not in your enterprise agreement and are just covered by policy, they can be changed and become unenforceable.  The Department’s email does not address this key point.

The Department also claimed that “the pay increase is the highest that we are able to offer”. They have said this for the last two offers and have been wrong both times, with the pay offer increasing from 1.7%, to 4.5% and then to 6% over three years. While the pay rise on offer is still inadequate (particularly when you factor in the delays), voting “NO” is clearly leading to improvements. We need to do so again.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. While the Department says they would “consult widely”, they have deleted the very definition of consultation from the agreement! So no consideration of staff views is required prior to a decision being made on key issues like performance management standards, restructures and a whole host of proposals that affect your working life.

The Department claims that they now won’t be demanding that Recreation Leave on full-pay be given priority over half-pay leave in the agreement, but have failed to mention that they will include this requirement in the EA Guidelines, and will be removing the right of staff to be consulted over these policies.

The Department claims that there is no certainty that the offer will improve if staff vote NO, but it is absolutely certain that this offer is worse than your current agreement.

Lets VOTE NO and keep pushing for a better deal for Agriculture staff.    

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