Public servants' campaign forces gov't retreat on pay rise

Community sector union national secretary Nadine Flood.

Under pressure from an industrial campaign by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), the Turnbull government has announced it will lift its cap on wage rises for federal public sector workers from 1.5% to 2%.

The government is maintaining its hard line on stripping existing workplace rights and conditions.

Only a handful of government agencies have so far this year reached EBA settlements with their workers.

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said on October 21: “We've made it clear all year — both at the negotiating table and beyond — that this dispute could be resolved if the government moved away from cutting rights, conditions and take-home pay, with some move on real wages.

“On pay we are closer with this move from government, with workers seeking 2.5% to 3%, with some recognition of the stresses on family budgets caused by an 18-month wage freeze.

“On rights and conditions, we're up for a real discussion, but the government appears uninterested. And on cuts to take-home pay, the government has as yet said nothing to the thousands of workers scared about being able to pay their bills.

“The government's shift in position and some willingness to talk are positive signs, but we're not there yet in resolving this long-running dispute.

“We're seen 80% to 90% of workers in major agencies voting No to these agreements, with significant industrial action — moving to 2% for the same loss of conditions won't fix this mess.”

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