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Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 397. Updated Tuesday, 18 February 2014

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ATO complaints service improves

Australian Public Service staff face cuts to real wages and their conditions when the next round of enterprise bargaining begins, according to the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU).

National Secretary of the CPSU, Nadine Flood said the Government's bargaining plans included significant cuts to employment conditions and allowances, that all pay rises be linked to trade-offs in conditions, and that pay increases be between 0 per cent and 2.5 per cent.

The union, which has been told details of the bargaining plans, said the Government did not want central negotiations with the CPSU and wanted to tightly control which Agencies were allowed to negotiate.

"The Abbott Government is telling us it is not ready to talk about pay and conditions, yet it appears it has all but drafted the fine print on a highly-aggressive policy to cut real wages, conditions and rights," said Ms Flood.

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She said under this approach, public sector workers were facing "a double whammy".

"Firstly, thousands of jobs are being cut and the remaining staff are being flogged harder to get the work done,'' she said.

"Secondly, no one is going to get a pay rise that keeps up with inflation, unless they agree to have their rights and conditions cut."

Ms Flood said 160,000 PS staff are on agreements that expire on 30 June 2014, but instead of talking to the union, the Government has drawn up a plan to force Agencies to cut workers' rights without genuine negotiations.

"Multiple sources across the Public Service have told us the Government has completed its bargaining policy and has briefed APS Agencies," said Ms Flood.

The new policy, called the Australian Government Employment and Workplace Relations Policy, will apply to all Public Service Agencies as well as Agencies such as the CSIRO.

Ms Flood said the new policy included a move to strip matters out of enterprise agreements and moved them into policy, which the employer can change without negotiation.

The Agencies would have limited room to negotiate, she said.

Minister for the Public Service, Senator Eric Abetz, will closely vet all agreements.

There will be no pay increases unless they are linked to narrowly defined productivity. Only cuts to direct employee costs will be recognised.

Ms Flood said employees who don't want to lose rights and entitlements could receive 0 per cent pay rise.

Personal and carers leave (sick leave) will be cut to 15 days maximum.

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