Yes votes in Tax and PM&C show the way on bargaining

Staff in the Tax Office and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) have voted to accept new enterprise agreements, underlining the approach other Commonwealth agencies must adopt to resolve bargaining.

In the Tax Office a strong 83% Yes vote was recorded with 84% of eligible staff participating. The PM&C ballot closed with a 78% Yes vote and an 81% participation rate.

The departments are the latest to secure agreements in recent weeks, joining agencies including Defence, Agriculture and Water and the CSIRO.

CPSU Deputy Secretary Melissa Donnelly said: “These votes finally bring an end to this long, messy and unnecessary dispute for staff in the Tax Office and Prime Minister and Cabinet, but it will take years to repair the damage that’s been done to trust and morale in both of these agencies.”

“Voting this time around was a hard decision for people, whichever way they voted, but ultimately they’ve recognised the bargaining progress made in recent months. We have got to this point because Tax and PM&C bosses finally realised that retaining hard-fought rights and conditions was the core issue.”

“These agreements are a significant improvement on those that were previously rejected, and in the case of Tax our members did not oppose this offer, but we still firmly believe that workers deserved better than this, especially after having their wages frozen for well over three years.”

“In the case of Tax rights and conditions around key issues like rostering and working hours have been retained in the agreement, and important consultation and delegates’ rights have been protected through additional documents. In PM&C we’ve reached a much fairer outcome for both the staff merged in from other agencies as well as the staff covered by the previous PM&C agreement.”

“These two results in Tax and PM&C, along with other recent agreements that have been approved in agencies including Defence, Agriculture and CSIRO, suggests this bitter and protracted round of public sector bargaining may finally be headed towards a resolution. That won’t happen though until stand-out agencies such as the Department of Human Services get the message on retaining rights and conditions.”