Weather Bureau again refuses Fair Work conciliation as strikes ramp up

Bureau of Meteorology management has again refused Fair Work’s urging for conciliation to resolve the agency’s protracted industrial dispute, as ongoing industrial action by CPSU members enters a new phase.

Weather Bureau staff are continuing to fight for a new enterprise agreement that is fair and retains important existing workplace rights and conditions.

The previous agreement expired in June 2014 and staff have not had a general pay rise for more than four and a half years.

The current round of industrial action in BOM began on February 20, with a new phase commencing from midnight and continuing until at least April 9. CPSU members are now able to take rolling strike action at any time.

CPSU Deputy Secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said: “The Weather Bureau unfortunately remains a workplace in turmoil, and a standout example of why we need to change the rules to fix our broken industrial relations system. Enterprise bargaining across Commonwealth agencies has been difficult, but Weather Bureau bosses have taken it to a new low in their lack of respect for hardworking staff.”

“The CPSU continues to pursue every possible avenue to seek a resolution to this destructive and protracted dispute, including through the Fair Work Commission. On Friday the dispute was in Fair Work again, with the Commission and the CPSU once again urging the Weather Bureau to agree to conciliation. BOM bosses decided instead to keep their heads stuck in the sand, bizarrely maintaining they won’t even consider such a proposal before an expensive outside consultant tells them why this dispute is ongoing.”

“The fact BOM can keep dodging conciliation shows the system isn’t working. This matter should have gone to conciliation months if not years ago, rather than allowing Weather Bureau bosses to continue trying to railroad through a dodgy agreement. BOM bosses are still pushing a punitive agreement that targets many of its harshest cuts are frontline staff working shifts and in remote locations, showing their agenda threatens to undermine the bureau’s fundamental purpose.”

“We certainly aren’t just waiting for Fair Work in trying to resolve this. CPSU members resumed their campaign of effective but responsible industrial action five weeks ago, focussed on putting pressure on management rather than inconveniencing the public. Today that action is entering a new phase, with members now having the option to take blocks of strike action at any time of the day or night, on top of the existing work bans that are in place.”

“Weather Bureau staff are as determined as ever to get a fair agreement, whatever it takes, and they’re angrier than ever at the ongoing attacks on their livelihoods and their important work. CPSU members are just warming up in this round of industrial action and are prepared to take things even further if that’s what’s needed to get a decent resolution.”