Public servants have been locked into a bargaining stoush with the government for five years. In June 2014, for the first time in years, the end dates of enterprise agreements aligned across agencies. This gave the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) immense potential for coordinated action. Saddled with a restrictive bargaining framework and facing a government at war with its own workforce, CPSU members responded with mass meetings, bans, strike action and a string of decisive votes against unacceptable offers — some agencies voting down as many as four. When industrial action started to bite in 2017 — especially when airport workers walked off the job — the Fair Work Commission weighed in. The court ordered binding arbitration, which compels both sides to adhere to its decision without a right to appeal. On February 8, with their pay still frozen, these workers finally got an outcome, and they are not happy. The entire workforce gone backwards. Many describe the outcome as the most gender-biased in the public sector.
With this slug-fest over — for the time being at least — it’s vital to evaluate the campaign, prepare for next time and draw lessons for the broader union movement.
Hear from a panel of CPSU workplace delegates from a range of agencies, including those with direct experience of the Fair Work Commission. They’ll show how industrial relations rules are more than broken and what it takes to win.
Speakers: Denis Mann, Amelia Taylor and Alison Thorne
Dinner will be served at 6:30 pm for a $10 donation, and the discussion begins at 7 pm.
Solidarity Salon, 580 Sydney Road, Brunswick
There’s plenty of free parking at rear – enter from Staley Street. Or you can take the Upfield train to Anstey Station or the North Coburg tram to Stewart Street.
For more information, firstname.lastname@example.org call 9388-0062.