Weather Bureau bosses feeling the heat after third No vote

Weather Bureau staff have delivered a stinging rebuke to management by rejecting a third flawed enterprise agreement with a strong No vote of nearly 60%.

The 59.59% No vote rejected the proposed agreement by a larger margin than the previous ballot, with a high participation rate among eligible staff of 79.72%.

Previous agreement proposals were rejected with a 58.47% No vote in May of this year and a 69.3% No in February 2016.

CPSU Deputy Secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said: “Weather Bureau staff are heading into their fourth Christmas without a pay rise, but that doesn’t mean they were prepared to accept the lump of coal on offer from their bosses. This third strong No vote shows staff won’t cop management’s long-running attack on their workplace rights and conditions and won’t be signing up to a new agreement unless it’s a fair deal.”

“Holding this ballot in the shadows of Christmas was a cynical ploy by Bureau of Meteorology bosses, but staff still turned up in force to vote this agreement down. Rather than trying to sneak through an unfair and unpopular agreement, management should be listening to the genuine concerns of staff and putting a fair and reasonable offer on the table.”

“Frontline BOM staff working shifts and in remote locations already have their hands full providing critical information around bushfires, extreme heat and other potentially dangerous weather conditions. This ballot was an unwelcome distraction at such a busy time of year, especially since it’s these frontline staff who stand to lose the most under the harsh and unfair approach that’s been taken by their bosses.”

“It’s long past time for BOM management to start listening to staff, particularly around critical issues such as shift work and remote allowances. Staff have already waged an unprecedented campaign of strikes and other industrial action this year and unfortunately there will be more to come unless there’s some real progress at the bargaining table.”

“We’ve already written to BOM management about today’s ballot result, urging them to change their approach. The reality is an agreement could be approved relatively quickly and easily if they adopted the approach taken by other agencies and recognised that retaining rights and conditions is the key issue.”

“BOM is one of a handful of Commonwealth agencies where enterprise bargaining remains unresolved, along with the Federal Courts and of course the Fair Work arbitration for staff in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. This protracted dispute is clear evidence that the rules around enterprise bargaining are broken and need to be fixed.”