Fight continues over agency bargaining

Issue 

Fight continues over agency bargaining

By Phil Shannon

CANBERRA — Community and Public Sector Union delegates and members in the Commonwealth Department of Human Services and Health (HSH) in the ACT are opposing certification of the agency agreement which has been recently voted on in the department.

The ACT Delegates Committee (ACT SDC) is seeking a hearing before the Industrial Relations Commission to oppose certification. The ACT SDC believes that the agreement is to the disadvantage of members because the 2.5% wage rise and other productivity measures will be paid for through job cuts; that the higher duties allowance which provides career development and additional pay will become less available; and that senior officers could be forced into the agreement at reduced wages.

The ACT SDC believes that the national officials of the union did not provide adequate information to members on these matters and actively censored distribution of material which would have assisted members to make an informed decision.

In states where alternative material was circulated, the percentage of members voting against the agreement was much higher than states where information was withheld — the ACT (75% voting against) and Queensland (49%), compared to NSW (7%), Victoria (8%) and WA (4%).

In addition, a number of states and the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service allowed voting by electronic mail and facsimile, which is potentially open to abuse of the principle of one member, one vote and which undermines the democratic process of decision making by members' meetings in an environment of full information and debate.

CPSU members in the ACT (the largest of the CPSU branches) strongly support a challenge in the IRC to place the national officials of the CPSU on notice that their undemocratic behaviour is unacceptable.

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