Workers in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship have won pay rises of about 11% over three years. Management initially offered only 9%, but conceded bigger rises following a 65% “no” vote to the offer in a staff ballot. Members of the Community and Public Sector Union had threatened industrial action over the issue.
By contrast, Australian Taxation Office (ATO) management has so far refused to go beyond its original offer of 9% over three years.
One factor encouraging ATO management's intransigence is the fact that tax office workers face legal obstacles to taking industrial action. Although the enterprise agreement covering most ATO workers expired in June 2011, some ATO employees are covered by an agreement that expires in June 2012.
The proposed new agreement would cover both groups. But under the Labor government's Fair Work Act, all workers are banned from taking industrial action if any of them are covered by an existing agreement.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) is campaigning for a better pay rise for ATO workers through posters, stickers, meetings, rallies and publicity stunts. It has also approached ALP members of parliament to influence government policy. But the lack of industrial action has weakened the campaign.
Meanwhile, the CPSU has warned that national stoppages affecting international airports and other customs services will go ahead on October 13 unless a new pay deal is reached before that date.