Defence deal finally voted up after three-year delay

Department of Defence staff will finally have a new enterprise agreement, with staff voting up a deal that improved on the three previously rejected offers, with more rights protected.

The ballot closed yesterday, with 61% voting Yes to the agreement. 84% of eligible staff participated, in the first Defence ballot since December last year.

Defence is one of several major agencies voting in June, with Agriculture staff also approving a new deal earlier this week and ballots soon in the Tax Office, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and CSIRO.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “Defence staff have finally voted up a new agreement, albeit reluctantly. This deal is a real improvement on those they’ve previously rejected but it’s far from perfect and also massively unfair that they're copping a three-year plus pay freeze.

“We’ve got to this position because Defence bosses finally realised that they weren’t going to get a new agreement up simply by waging a war of attrition on their own workforce. Since last December’s third No vote they’ve actually bargained in earnest, recognising how much staff value their workplace rights and conditions.”

“This round of bargaining has been drawn out and fundamentally unfair, and that’s going to leave a bad taste in the mouth of Defence staff for years to come.”

“Bargaining could have been wrapped up months if not years ago in Defence and elsewhere if the Turnbull Government had recognised how important workplace rights and conditions are to people. The fact these hardworking staff are paying the price for the Government’s ideological attacks on their conditions and rights by being hit with a three-year wage freeze is fundamentally unfair.”

“This week we’ve seen much improved agreements finally settled in Defence and Agriculture and staff are also voting in Tax, Prime Minister and Cabinet and CSIRO. These people have had a hard decision to make, given these agreements remain deeply flawed, and unfortunately other agencies seem still not to understand what they need to do to finally resolve this long and bitter dispute.”