Public Sector Agreement
Friday 17 Apr 2020
Back in January we started the process of seeking a new Agreement to cover your pay and conditions, when the existing Agreement expires on 30 June 2020.
We surveyed members and received nearly double the numbers of responses from members than in previous rounds of bargaining. Members provided us with over 6,000 comments, suggestions and ideas for claims. There was clearly an appetite for changes to be made.
We had developed a draft log of claims based on the survey results and the member meetings we held in the first few months of the year, as well as member feedback over the life of the Agreement.
Our first challenge was not being able to continue with holding our usual large meeting of Workplace Representatives to finalise the log of claims.
Through February we remained hopeful that COVID-19 might go the ways of SARS or MERS and be contained, and the world could move on.
Sadly, since then we have seen the virus outbreak and its effects spread with closed borders, social distancing, businesses closed, people with less hours or out of work and hoping to go back to work.
As you might expect, this new reality has also impacted on our ability to run a pay campaign in the normal way. There are real challenges to collective action in an environment which forces isolation and separation from each other.
The virus has also had the effect of making governments nervous about making agreements. In some other states and in the Commonwealth public sector wage freezes have been announced.
To their credit the McGowan Government have not taken that approach at this stage. Like everyone else, we have needed to adapt to the disrupted and uncertain environment and work our way forward. We took the opportunity to commence informal negotiations with the log of claims focusing on conditions.
A copy of the log of claims is here.
We have been meeting with the Health Department, with ministers, and various other public sector agents to come to terms for a new Agreement. Your Committee of Management is informed of the progress. We are getting closer to a position on most items.
It is important for members to know that Health is demonstrating very little appetite for change to existing terms, given the current uncertainty.
We are focused on the key issues raised by members. We expect that there will be an offer endorsed by the Government in coming weeks. Any offer will be put to the Committee of Management before going to a ballot of all public sector members.
More to come soon.