We are writing to keep you up-to-date on fast moving developments around bargaining at NIAA.
Regrettably, Minister Ken Wyatt has replied and declined our request for an exemption to the Government’s bargaining policy due to the exceptional circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. His reasoning included that he did not consider the pandemic to be an extraordinary circumstance in the context of the bargaining policy.
However, since the Minister’s reply, the Hon Ben Morton announced that the Government would be freezing APS wage increases due to exceptional circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find out more about this here.
To be clear, in these current circumstances where our focus must remain on preserving the health and safety of staff, clients and our communities, we are not seeking enhancements to employee entitlements at NIAA.
We are seeking a continuation of existing conditions (including Part C) until such time that there is an opportunity to negotiate around them. And while we acknowledge the previous agreement that was made at the former Department, we do not think that during a global pandemic is an appropriate time to be conducting negotiations, and thought it better to maintain Part C conditions until such time as we had the opportunity to negotiate in good faith.
Today, we wrote again to the Minister to reconsider given the Government’s change of position and acknowledgement that the COVID-19 pandemic is an exceptional circumstance. So exceptional, that it now believes it warrants changes to previously agreed terms and conditions. You can read our letter here.
We will continue to engage with CPSU delegates on next steps and will soon be going to members for further guidance on management’s current proposal.