14/06/2019 - 15:08

Cracks emerge in state pay policy

14/06/2019 - 15:08

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The public sector union is claiming it has broken the state’s wages policy on the back of a new enterprise agreement offer that includes a range of new entitlements such as an extra holiday, superannuation during unpaid parental leave, and cultural leave for Aboriginal employees.

Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston leads the state's negotiation strategy . Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

The public sector union is claiming it has broken the state’s wages policy on the back of a new enterprise agreement offer that includes a range of new entitlements such as an extra holiday, superannuation during unpaid parental leave, and cultural leave for Aboriginal employees.

The state government inked a wages policy in May 2017 promising to keep wage increases to $1,000 per year, as part of its budget repair strategy.

Business News understands the state government had told the Community and Public Sector Union, Civil Service Association when negotiations started in December 2018 that the cap also covered any entitlements that carried costs.

That included elements such as extra paid leave, superannuation and pay loadings. 

The CPSUCSA wrote to members this week saying it had received a new offer from the government, which had big changes from an earlier iteration.

The union said nearly every condition it had originally claimed from the government had been met.

“Although it contains the $1,000 pay cap, the conditions achieved in this offer absolutely break wages policy,” the union wrote to members this week.

“The list of improvements below could not have happened without applying significant pressure to government.

“They should never forget that because of us, WA works.”

The two-year offer will mean a $1,000 salary increase dated from June 13, and a second, similar increase on June 13 next year.

Union delegates covered by the agreement will meet to provide feedback on the offer on June 25, after which it may go to ballot.

The union touted two changes in the agreement as firsts for the public sector.

The first was an offer of superannuation payments for up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave.

The second was a five-day per annum allowance of cultural leave for employees who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders.

A further promise was for the two parties to review a discounted public transport scheme for employees, according to deal documents sighted by Business News.

The additional holiday on offer will be in lieu of Easter Sunday, the deal documents said.

But a spokesperson for Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said the government 100 per cent stood behind its wages policy.

She acknowledged some sweeteners had been offered, with similar entitlements offered to WA Police Union in an offer announced earlier this week.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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