8 May 2024

AFP union recommends members vote ‘No’ to latest enterprise agreement offer

| Andrew McLaughlin
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AFP officer in uniform

The Australian Federal Police Association says the AFP has not negotiated in good faith. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The Australian Federal Police Association (AFPA) says it will strongly recommend that its members vote ‘No’ to the Government’s latest offer covering the revised Australian Federal Police Enterprise Agreement (AFP EA).

The union says a No vote will open the door to a fairer deal for all eligible AFP members. It says it believes the AFP has not negotiated in good faith.

The recommendation is based on many of the AFP’s offers for the new EA falling short of the union’s demands, a final list of which was submitted last month.

These include the government’s proposed allowance of $3000 every year of the next Enterprise Agreement (EA) for all AFP appointees holding a Use of Force qualification, but the AFPA believes the responsibility that comes with Use of Force is greater than $3000 per year and says $5000 would constitute an appropriate allowance.

READ ALSO Protected industrial action options for AFP, ACT Policing officers on the cards as pay dispute continues

The AFPA also wants broadbands for sworn police officers brought into line with those of their state and territory counterparts and an unsociable hours allowance to apply to all AFP appointees so some members do not lose money while working night shifts.

They are also pressing to enshrine the right to disconnect in the AFP EA.

At the heart of the issue seems to be pushback against the Australian Public Service Commission’s offer of an 11.2 per cent pay rise across the APS, which the AFPA says would result in real wages for AFP employees going backwards as they have over the last 10 years.

It also wants unsworn appointees to be provided with career pathways as part of the AFP EA.

READ ALSO AFP Deputy Commissioner Scott Lee confirmed as ACT Policing’s new Chief Police Officer

AFPA President Alex Caruana said the AFP “had fought the AFPA every step of the way”, including docking wages for undertaking protected industrial action, not including the ‘right to disconnect’ legislation in the AFP EA, and using Federal Government initiatives to support a ‘Yes’ vote.

“As the proposed AFP EA stands, we strongly believe members are not getting a fair deal and that the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) and Federal Government need to do better,” Mr Caruana said.

“Only recently, the Federal Government rubber-stamped a $6000 one-off payment to Air Services Australia aviation firefighters. The AFP is offering its members a $871 one-off payment as an inducement to vote ‘Yes’ before 25 May 2024.

“The entire workforce of the AFP are not traditional public servants,” he added.

“AFP members are the most scrutinised employees in the Federal Government. All members must maintain a security clearance, are regularly drug tested, and can be integrity tested. Parliamentarians and their staff do not have this scrutiny.

“They also must disclose personal relationship and financial information. This is on top of being scrutinised by AFP Professional Standards, the Ombudsman’s Office, and the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

AFPA Alex Caruana

AFPA President Alex Caruana: “The AFP has taken advantage of the goodwill and dedication of its members for too long.” Photo: AFPA.

The AFPA says it will engage with its membership over the next few weeks to raise awareness of what it describes as the deficiencies and shortcomings in the proposed AFP EA and that it hopes all AFP members will attend musters and learn more about it.

“These are employees’ workplace conditions for which we are fighting,” Mr Caruana said. “We believe that the members are being short-changed, and their skills are not recognised.

“It is time that the AFP and Federal Government recognise the work and commitment of all AFP employees. The AFP has taken advantage of the goodwill and dedication of its members for too long.

“It is also time for the AFP to step up and support its workforce,” he added.

“It is these members who are the protectors and frontline on national security, child exploitation, people smuggling, policing the Australian Capital Territory, and protecting critical infrastructure across Australia.”

In a Facebook post, Mr Caruana said, “No matter what cohort you work in … the offer on the table from the government and from the AFP undervalues and undermines the job that each of you do every day to keep the Australian community safe.”

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