17 March 2023

APS pay talks: Government releases 'common conditions', union seeks a lot more money

| Chris Johnson
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APSC Deputy Commissioner Peter Riordan: “The list of proposed common conditions is ambitious.” Photo: Supplied.

The Federal Government has released a list of proposed ‘common conditions’ it hopes to discuss with its workforce during service-wide wages and conditions bargaining for the Australian Public Service.

The APS Workplace Relations Bargaining Taskforce released the list of 48 conditions just as the Community and Public Sector Union called for a 20 per cent hike in staff salaries over three years.

The bargaining officially kicks off at the end of this month (30 March), with the first round of negotiations expected to be finalised by the end of July.

This first stage of bargaining will focus on conditions that can be applied to all APS agencies, while the second stage will examine individual agencies on a case-by-case basis.

But with the government and the main union representing the APS workforce approaching the table from vastly different perspectives, negotiations look set to be intense and difficult.

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APSC deputy commissioner Peter Riordan said the government’s list of proposed conditions was formulated after significant consultation with APS agencies.

“The list of proposed common conditions is ambitious. It reflects that we are entering this process with an open mind,” he said.

“I want this process to be a wide-ranging and meaningful discussion that considers the contemporary needs of our workforce and the changing nature of the workplace.

“In addition to the proposed list of common conditions, service-wide bargaining will also discuss pay increases and a mechanism to reduce pay fragmentation across the APS.

“We may not resolve the full list of proposed common conditions in the first round of service-wide bargaining, due to be completed by the end of July.

“We will reserve for future rounds conditions that remain unresolved at the conclusion of this round of bargaining. Those future rounds will benefit from the work and discussions we’re starting now.”

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The CPSU is seeking an initial pay increase for APS staff of 9 per cent in the first year of the agreement, 6 per cent in the second year and 5 per cent in year three.

The union also wants a cost-of-living adjustment payment and a pay equity clause to improve the salaries of the service’s lowest-paid employees.

“CPSU members have had their say on what they want to see when it comes to both pay and conditions, and this has now been formalised in the CPSU Service-wide bargaining claim and endorsed by CPSU members,” the union says in a statement.

“This claim will form the starting point for negotiations between CPSU members and the APSC in service-wide bargaining.”

The government is hoping its list of common conditions will facilitate open and constructive discussions with all unions and employment bargaining representatives for public servants.

The intent of these discussions, it hopes, will be to agree on a set of common conditions to be reflected in all APS enterprise agreements.

The APSC’s full list of proposed common conditions is:

  • Definitions – common language across enterprise agreements
  • Duration of agreements or common pay increase dates
  • Statement on respect at work
  • National Employment Standards precedence clause
  • Employment types
  • Casual conversion
  • Hours of work
  • Flex time for APS and equivalent level employees
  • Time off in lieu for executive level employees
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Wellbeing
  • Recovery of overpayments
  • Business travel (domestic)
  • Remote localities
  • Incremental advancement
  • Salary on promotion and commencement
  • Higher duties allowance
  • Worker responsibility allowance
  • Relocation assistance
  • Overtime
  • Shift penalties
  • Superannuation
  • Portability of leave
  • Annual leave
  • Personal leave
  • Purchased leave
  • Sabbatical leave
  • Parental leave
  • Long service leave
  • Family and domestic violence
  • Cultural & NAIDOC leave
  • Defence reservists leave
  • Defence service sick leave
  • Community service leave
  • Compassionate and bereavement leave
  • Public holidays
  • Christmas closedown
  • Lactation breaks
  • Leave without pay
  • Re-crediting of leave
  • Study assistance
  • Redundancy, retrenchment and redeployment
  • Separation
  • Consultation
  • Delegates rights
  • Dispute resolution
  • Individual flexibility arrangements
  • Supported wage system.

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