The Federal Government has offered Australian Public Service employees a 10.5 per cent pay rise over three years.
It is the first wage offer to emerge from the Australian Public Service Commission in the current round of negotiations over APS pay and conditions.
If accepted, it would be the largest salary increase for federal public servants in more than a decade.
But it roughly equates to only half of what the Community and Public Sector Union has asked for – a 20 per cent wage hike over three years.
CPSU national secretary Melissa Donnelly accepts that 20 per cent is an ambitious claim but insists it has to be ambitious after a decade of wage neglect for the APS.
In a statement posted on its website, the union said CPSU members in the APS will now decide whether to accept the offer.
“The CPSU bargaining claim, endorsed overwhelmingly by members, is for 20 per cent over three years (9 per cent in the first year, 6 per cent in the second year, and 5 per cent in year three),” the statement said.
“We know that members have faced a decade of wage freezes, pay caps and delays in bargaining. We know that they deserve pay rises that keep up with the cost of living.
“Now it’s up to you to tell us whether the government’s offer is good enough.”
The APSC tabled the Commonwealth’s pay offer on Tuesday (16 May) as part of the service-wide bargaining process.
If agreed to, APS employees would receive a 4 per cent increase in the first year, a 3.5 per cent increase in the second and 3 per cent in the third year.
An APS3 currently earning a salary of $66,563, for example, would receive a total pay increase of $7,235 by the third year of the agreement.
An APS6 on a salary of $95,873 would get a total pay increase of $10,421, taking their annual salary to $106,294 at the end of the three years.
And an EL2 (executive level 2) currently earning $148,315 would see an increase of $16,121 over the three years, taking their annual salary to $164,436.
Deputy APS commissioner and chief negotiator Peter Riordan said the pay offer recognises the need to provide employees with a meaningful increase in pay.
He said that it also shows the government’s commitment to service-wide bargaining, providing APS employees with fair and equitable conditions.
“This is a fair and considered pay offer,” Mr Riordan said.
“It offers APS employees the largest increase in pay in over 10 years, balanced against inflation pressures, global economic uncertainty and broader fiscal responsibilities.
“We are looking forward to progressing discussions on a variety of matters in coming weeks.
“This will include considering steps to address pay fragmentation across the Australian Public Service.”
The APSC stressed that the pay offer was developed with consideration of broader economic and workforce factors.
Supporting the claim is a forecast decline in the consumer price index to 3.25 per cent over 2023-24, decreasing further to 2.5 per cent over 2025-26.
The wage price index is expected to be 4 per cent over 2023-24, easing further to 3.25 per cent in 2024-25.
The CPSU has opened a ballot asking its APS members to vote on the offer.
The ballot will close on 30 May.
Mr Riordan said he aims to move through issues as efficiently as possible and will progress discussions on other matters according to the bargaining schedule.
Finance and Public Service Minister Katy Gallagher wants the service-wide pay negotiations for the APS’s enterprise agreement settled by July.
Once finalised, the APSC can turn its attention to individual agency awards.