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Tuesday, 3 March 1970

Mr HULME (PETRIE, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - Perhaps I could first of all make a brief explanation in relation to this issue. It has been suggested in the news media that the problem arose out of the Arbitrator's decision to give to certain classifications of the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union a rise of between $1.0 and $91 and also out of the fact that a 6.6% increase which had been given to motor drivers and to certain work areas had not been passed on to this particular group. The APWU lodged a claim in relation to these classifications in December 1.968. The first decision, which was an interim decision, was given in January 1969. A further decision, which was a consent decision, was given in July 1969. The Arbitrator's decision was the third in relation to this claim. The three together represent in the broad area an increase of from 8.6% to 10.5% in the wages of these classifications. I say that because I believe that this matter has been put out of perspective so far as the public is concerned.

As to the question which the honourable member asked, today there has been consultation between the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union, the Public Service Board and representatives of the Post Office. The conclusion late this afternoon was that it is believed that because the request in relation to the 6.6% increase was made at a very late stage in the Arbitrator's hearing, there is some justification for looking at this situation. It has been agreed that they will endeavour to take this aspect before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and will, at the same time, recommend to the union that normal working be resumed. I think it has to be said that the APWU will' take this recommendation back to its members. I hope, and I believe that every honourable member hopes, that it will be accepted by the members of the APWU and that we will get back to normal operation within the Post Office and have the mails moving again to the advantage of the Australian community.

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