CPSU leaders accept ATO deal

June 17, 1998

CPSU leaders accept ATO deal

By Chris Slee

The tax section council of the Community and Public Sector Union has voted to recommend acceptance of Australian Taxation Office (ATO) management's latest agency agreement offer.

Section secretary Shane O'Connell argued that the proposed agreement is significantly better than the one rejected by staff in April. He cited changes to dispute settling procedures which give unions the ability to take disputes to the Industrial Relations Commission, and some improvements in the procedures for dealing with redundancy and allegations of inefficiency.

Opponents of the section council's recommendation pointed to a large number of undesirable features of the proposed agreement. It makes pay rises dependent on a range of "corporate outcomes", including meeting revenue targets at reduced cost, improved results in surveys of "client perceptions of employee professionalism", and reductions in public complaints.

Many of these "outcomes" are beyond the control of ATO employees. The redundancy and inefficiency provisions, despite being better than in management's previous offer, are worse than existing award conditions.

O'Connell replied that these award conditions are under threat from award simplification, which may lead to an even worse outcome if no agreement is reached. Opponents of the deal argued for an industrial campaign to win a better agreement.

O'Connell's motion recommending acceptance was passed by 17 votes to eight. Union members will vote on the deal during the week beginning June 22.

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