11 November 2022

APS workplace negotiations to exclude some employees

| Chris Johnson
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Australian Government building. Australian Public Service Commission. Bureau of Meteorology.

Australian Public Service Commission. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Public Service Minister Katy Gallagher has decided bureaucracy-wide bargaining with employers will only apply to Australian Public Service (APS) agencies.

This means other public servants such as parliamentary staff, the Australian Federal Police and those employed in the Federal Government’s various intelligence agencies and some other entities will be excluded from the new bargaining regime.

APS Commissioner Peter Woolcott has written an open letter to all public servants, detailing the new rules, updating progress, and flagging that comprehensive service-wide workplace bargaining will be undertaken in 2023.

“The Minister for the Public Service, Senator the Honourable Katy Gallagher, has made an early policy decision that service-wide bargaining should be limited to APS agencies and their employees,” the Commissioner wrote.

“This includes all agencies which engage employees under the Public Service Act 1999. At the same time, we will develop separate arrangements for agencies which engage employees under different enabling legislation i.e. non-APS commonwealth agencies.”

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A workplace relations bargaining taskforce was established last month, headed by APSC deputy commissioner Peter Riordan.

Mr Woolcott described the former high-ranking NSW public servant in a letter as having “a wealth of workplace relations experience in the public sector”.

Service-wide negotiations will begin next year.

“The taskforce will be responsible for developing the approach to service-wide bargaining,” Mr Woolcott said in the letter. “To do this, the taskforce will acknowledge the diversity of agencies and their employees.

“The taskforce has already begun consulting with APS agencies and public sector unions.”

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Negotiations will centre on common core terms and conditions in the APS, with the hope arrangements will give agencies enough flexibility to nut out specific conditions.

“I expect initial steps will be taken to address pay dispersion across the APS. This is consistent with the government’s expectations,” the Commissioner wrote.

Information on service-wide bargaining will be regularly updated on the Australian Public Service Commission website.

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