On behalf of DVA CPSU Section Council and your local delegates, I would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
As we come to the end of another year, we have reflected on the work of the union in DVA, and of your delegates, who work hard to support all of you.
Participation in consultation
Over the course of 2018, your DVA union representatives have participated in a number of consultations including the Productivity Commission’s Review into DVA and the Senate Inquiry into Government Contracting. To find out more about our submissions, please check out the documents section at our DVA CPSU collaborative site.
An important campaign that has run nationally was the ACTU’s “Change the Rules” campaign. Everyone deserves secure ongoing work. How can someone qualify for a mortgage if they don’t have guaranteed work? And this is not an issue that only affects people outside DVA.
As of September this year, DVA had 897 labour hire staff! That’s 30% of our workforce. And they are doing jobs like claims processing. You could be sitting next to someone who is doing the same work as you, but they get less pay, no paid leave of any kind, and they could be sacked tomorrow. It is unfair. And we need to keep fighting to change it.
CPSU support for members in DVA
Unfortunately, it has been another busy year for union delegates providing one on one support for members. We have been working with members in relation to matters including performance management and code of conduct investigations as well as business area restructures and workplace culture. Please do not assume your manager knows what they are talking about in relation to your conditions. Check our HR policies and EA for yourself, and talk to your local delegate or the CPSU Member Service Centre (8am to 8pm, Mon to Fri on 1300 137 636). Be informed about your rights at work.
A win for members!
This June, your union was able to secure an extension of the contracts of 117 non- ongoing APS staff working in Primary Claims who had been advised they had to resign from the APS and sign up with labour hire agencies if they wanted to keep working at DVA.
These staff were extended until November to allow for the completion of a recruitment exercise for a large number of permanent vacancies. This process is still underway and the affected staff have been extended again to allow the recruitment to be finalised.
When we work together, we can make real changes in the workplace!
This year your union delegates represented your interests at the bargaining table. As in the previous round, the government’s bargaining policy was very restrictive. Our most important issues, such as a right to genuine consultation and reasonable access to EL TOIL and flexible work arrangements were all denied.
We also asked for a frontloaded pay offer, as was permitted by the policy, but this was also denied. Disappointingly, in spite of our advice to hold out for a better offer, the agreement was voted up and should be in place before the expiry of the current agreement in January 2018.
Although a disappointing EA outcome, we were still able to achieve improvement in the following areas:
- Protection of existing rights and entitlements that were not cut in the last round of bargaining
- Recognition and an entitlement to Family and Domestic Violence Leave and;
- Salary-based allowances increased in line with salary and expense related allowances by the CPI.
Coming up in 2019
The Productivity Commission has made a draft recommendation that DVA be abolished and replaced by a “Veterans’ Services Commission”. What does this mean for us and our job security? Are they just throwing out the baby with the bathwater?
The CPSU will be advocating for you and your interests in this process and we will be making a further comprehensive submission in response to the draft recommendations. Get in touch with us if you have issues you want addressed in our submission. Keep an eye on our collaborative site for updates.
Finally, there has never been a better time to join the union than now. Pitch in and support your union. We can only help anyone because people like you are members. If you are not a member, please consider joining us in the fight to protect our rights at work. Go here to join online. If you are already a member, thank you for your continued membership. Everyone appreciates your support!
See you all in 2019.
Fiona Duffy, CPSU Section Secretary, Department of Veterans' Affairs