27 November 2023

Mixed views from public servants over Government's latest pay offer

| Chris Johnson
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CPSU members and the APS workforce remain divided over whether to accept the Government’s wages offer. Photo: File.

The Australian Public Service workforce appears to be almost evenly divided over whether to accept the latest wages offer from the Federal Government.

Following months of stalemate over the offer of an 11.2 per cent pay increase over three years, resulting in union action across a number of agencies, the Australian Public Service Commission tweaked the deal to bring the first stage of the increase forward.

The overall percentage wages rise remains the same, but if the latest offer is accepted all APS employees will receive a one-off bonus payment.

The Community and Public Sector Union has put the offer to a membership vote, while recommending it be accepted.

However, Members United, a grassroots breakaway group within the union, says the Government’s offer has barely changed and should be rejected.

The initial 11.2 per cent offer was voted up by the CPSU with a 51.9 per cent majority, but union bosses decided to reject it anyway, saying it was not a clear enough result.

READ ALSO Latest APS wages offer deepens rift inside CPSU

While the CPSU awaits the outcome of the current ballot, Region has asked a number of public servants across all levels of employment and numerous agencies for their views on the latest deal.

Most people contacted were aware of the latest offer, but some were not.

When it came to getting the workplace agreement signed and salaries increased, however, there were mixed views on the latest offer.

Below are a few of the comments received.

EL1: “It isn’t much different at all from the last offer and I still think the Government can do better.”

APS6: “I have always been in favour of taking the deal that’s on the table. At the end of the day, it means more money for me.”

APS5: “It remains a below-WPI pay offer and should be rejected.”

EL2: “I’m happy with it. I will be voting for it.”

APS6: “This so-called revised offer is actually an unrevised one. The CPSU is now using the result from its last vote to justify recommending what they already said wasn’t good enough.”

APS5: “We’re certainly talking about it and there are different opinions. Personally, I just want my pay rise sooner rather than later.”

APS4: “Nope. It’s not even keeping up with inflation.”

Meanwhile, the CPSU has sent a bargaining update with a unique member link ballot to all eligible APS members, with a cover note praising the Government for moving on its final offer.

It also stresses the majority win of the last poll, even though the union leadership rejected it.

READ ALSO Breakthrough on APS wages standoff may provide Christmas bonus

“In the last CPSU membership poll, 52 per cent indicated overall support for the APS-wide pay and conditions package on offer,” the letter states.

“Members were satisfied with the significant improvement in conditions but wanted to see the government do better on the pay offer …

“We had a narrow window to campaign to get an improvement on pay without delaying bargaining outcomes or putting the conditions package at risk. We did that, escalating quickly through industrial action, APS-wide campaigning, and lobbying.

“The government has now moved, and is offering an additional payment to employees … The 0.92 per cent payment is calculated on the basis of moving forward the first pay date from 14 March 2024 to 21 December 2023 … The conditions package and the pay equity increases have been protected, and remain unchanged …

“The CPSU has undertaken protected industrial action wherever members have supported it and that action has helped build the pressure on government to move on pay.

“The outcomes on offer are the best that can be achieved without widespread and protracted industrial action right across the APS.

“Members have said they want outcomes on time. The union recommends the package and notes that it will deliver members strong conditions and improved pay without delays.”

This poll closes at midday on Thursday, 30 November.

Original Article published by Chris Johnson on Riotact.

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