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Enterprise Bargaining - What's Happened so Far

29 March 2017

There have been four enterprise bargaining meetings since first meeting was held at the end of last year.

Most of the time in these first meetings has been consumed by debates about how the meetings would be recorded. After lengthy negotiations, the government has now agreed to the unions' requests to record the topics discussed; the specific matters that unions want recorded; and actions and outcomes. This is a significant move from the government's initial position of recording the outcomes of discussions only.

Recording the topics discussed and the specific issues of the unions will greatly assist in reducing the potential for misinterpretation of the final agreement in the future.

As the PSA has previously reported to members the government has proposed only two clauses so far – consultation and dispute resolution. Both proposals were substandard and appeared to have been largely copied from an irrelevant agreement from another jurisdiction. As reported, the PSA and all other unions rejected these proposals as they would have represented a significant diminution in protections for members.

A strong consultation clause is critical to ensuring that members have a say in what happens in their life at work. A strong grievance and dispute resolution clause is important to ensure that members' protections are enforceable.

It is clear from these first two government proposals that it is not the government's intention to maintain all existing enterprise agreement protections and conditions.

No other substantive proposals have been tabled by the government to date. When the government tables its full substantive proposals the PSA will give full consideration to those proposal and will keep members informed.

The four meetings so far have provided an opportunity for discussion about any matters those present have chosen to raise.

The PSA is closer to finalising our proposal for a new agreement ahead of endorsement through our representative membership processes and tabling for negotiations.

As previously reported to members the PSA's proposal will be a comprehensive draft enterprise agreement based on our extensive membership consultation.

The PSA's expectation is that negotiations will proceed efficiently and expeditiously. The government has been kept fully informed at every stage of the PSA's approach to bargaining and our expectations from this round of bargaining. This includes that we do not accept the limitation of a pay rise of 1.5%.

The PSA will continue to keep members fully informed about the progress of the negotiations – which are still in their early stages.