DSS Bargaining

On Tuesday this week we had another bargaining meeting. Here's what you need to know:

Final meeting before a vote

It appears that Tuesday’s meeting was our last one before the Department goes to a vote. DSS and the CPSU have responded to each other’s’ claims, and whilst some progress has been made on restoring content to the EA, ultimately the Department has rejected the CPSU proposals and failed to meet any of our claims in full. Significantly, the Department’s offer of a 2% per annum pay increase falls well short of the CPSU’s claim of 3.5% per annum, projected inflation, or Government projected wage growth of 3.25% by 2019/20.

Your EA should be the most important source of employee info

The CPSU maintains that the EA is the most important document for employees as it contains all your enforceable rights, entitlements and conditions of employment. To the contrary, the management reps stated that in terms of important documents for the Department, “the EA doesn’t even make the top 10.”

Blunt refusal on consultation and delegates’ rights

The CPSU proposed that the key elements of our claim on consultation and delegates rights be given expression in a ‘protocol document’ - i.e. a statement of intent that commits the Department to consultation on a wide range of workplace changes via the Workplace Consultative Forum and recognising delegates rights. Whilst such documents are used in a number of other agencies and is consistent with the APSC bargaining policy, the Department outright rejected this proposal, preferring instead to propose that such matters should sit in unenforceable policy. CPSU Deputy Secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch will meet with the Department on Friday to discuss and attempt to resolve this vital issue.

CPSU to recommend a NO vote

Given the Department’s intransigence in key issues, in particular consultation and delegates’ rights, at this stage the CPSU will be recommending that Department staff vote no. This proposal as it stands is simply not good enough, both on principle and compared to other agencies.

The Department intends to put the EA to a vote on 13 August

Stay tuned for further information on CPSU paid-time meetings and other ways to get involved.

P.S. Unlike previous bargaining rounds, DSS has reneged on its initial agreement to allow delegates to send all-staff emails and to handout hardcopy information in the workplace. Given these new constraints on our ability to communicate with DSS staff, feel free to forward this story to any of your friends or colleagues who may be interested - https://www.cpsu.org.au/news/dss-bargaining-0