Government Grinches block interim pay rise for Immigration and Border Force

The Turnbull Government has blocked a CPSU proposal to provide an interim pay rise to ease the significant financial hardship faced by staff in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The CPSU pushed for the interim pay order before the full bench of the Fair Work Commission, as arbitration continues to finally end the protracted dispute in DIBP.

Wages for frontline staff in Immigration and Border Force have been frozen for more than four years as the Government has attacked critical workplace rights and conditions. In contrast, DIBP executives have been handed two no-strings-attached pay rises during the same period.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “This is an act of sheer bastardry from the Turnbull Government and the department. They have absolutely nothing to gain either legally or otherwise from doing this to Immigration and Border Force workers who are facing real hardship after four long years without a pay rise.”

“We’re disappointed Fair Work has agreed to hold off on issuing an interim pay rise at this time and will wait for the full bench to provide its reasons for this decision shortly. This is a bitter pill to swallow for our members just a few days out from Christmas, particularly given how many of them will be selflessly working during this period.”

“It’s a tough time of year financially for many people and our DIBP members have watched their cost of living rise over the past four years while their pay packet hasn’t moved at all. The department’s nasty proposals to cut take-home pay and rights and conditions, which it’s still pushing in Fair Work, mean it’s never offered anything that would leave workers anything but worse off.”

“The Commonwealth has the power to give a pay rise to DIBP staff at any time, as they have done twice since November last year for Senior Executive Service level roles. We argued forcefully in Fair Work for an interim order on this given the exceptional circumstances of such a long wages freeze, but the Government instructed their legal counsel to oppose our application.”

“The Government is doubling down on the serious damage it’s caused to this agency through this dispute. It’s absolutely disgraceful that they’re doing this to workers who are on the front line in protecting Australia’s borders. The impact of this dispute on morale and staff turn-over is likely to continue being felt in DIBP for years to come.”

“The CPSU’s witnesses have finished providing their evidence to Fair Work and the final submissions in the case are due to be made in early March. It’s not too late for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to step in here and at least provide some short-term pay relief until a workplace determination can be issued.”  

“The Commonwealth’s actions this week show just how broken our industrial rules are, when an employer can block a pay rise for no good reason after freezing their workforce’s pay for four long years.”