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Changes to enterprise bargaining for the Australian Public Service

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Media Release GG 09/10 10 December 2010

Changes to Enterprise Bargaining for the Australian Public Service

Special Minister of State for Public Service and Integrity Gary Gray today announced that the Australian Public Service Bargaining Framework will be strengthened to improve the way that the Australian Public Service bargains its enterprise agreements.

Mr Gray said that the Government had noted the significant role that agency based agreement making had played in promoting a productivity-focused culture in the APS. The Government has decided the most effective way forward is the continuation of that process.

Following these changes APS bargaining will be underpinned by an enhanced Bargaining Framework.

In addition to the Bargaining Framework, a set of recommendations regarding common terms and conditions of employment will be provided to agencies that are to be used as guidance for their enterprise agreements. These recommendations are intended to promote greater commonality in certain terms and conditions.

“Importantly, agencies will continue to negotiate their own enterprise agreements, providing them with flexibility to tailor arrangements specific to their operations,” Mr Gray said.

“The Government will continue to require agencies to identify productivity improvements that will offset any proposed improvements to terms and conditions, including remuneration. This approach ensures that no additional pressure will be placed on the Commonwealth Budget.”

Enhanced scrutiny arrangements will continue to apply with the Department of Finance examining agreements for affordability when remuneration outcomes exceed a three per cent averaged annualised wage increase. Approval of the arrangements will now rest with the Special Minister of State for the Public Service and Integrity.

“In the spirit of good faith bargaining and genuinely consulting with employees, this new Bargaining Framework will provide greater emphasis on, and recognition for, employee representatives in the bargaining process and the workplace more generally,” Mr Gray said.

Additionally, the Bargaining Framework includes an expectation that all new enterprise agreements will include a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2014. This common expiry date will provide continued capacity to seek further streamlining of APS agreements.

“The Australian Public Service Commission will play a pivotal role in providing expertise and support to agencies in developing arrangements and protocols for conducting formal bargaining processes with APS employees and their representatives,” Minister Gray concluded.

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Last Updated: 9 December, 2010

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