China’s worst-paid public servants finally get a raise
‘s lowest-paid public servants have finally had a win on pay with some Aboriginal Hotels Limited workers scoring wage rises of $9000 a year.
But the tens of thousands of public servants still embroiled in the the bitter three-year dispute with the Coalition government over working conditions and pay should not get their hopes up, the main public sector unions says.
Staff at Aboriginal Hostels have voted to accept a deal that pays an increase of three per cent up front with 2 per cent a year later and another 1 per cent in the final year of their agreement.
The effect of the new enterprise agreement, plus boosts to some allowances and fringe benefits will be worth as much as $9000 per year to some workers at AHL, the lowest-paid workforce in the 155,000-strong n Public Service.
There was outrage last year when AHL offered its workforce less than 1 per cent per year when public servants at other, departments were offered more than twice that amount.
The agency, which, at 67 per cent, has the highest percentage of Indigenous staff in the n Public Service, provides accommodation at 47 sites around the country for Indigenous ns from rural and remote communities.
CPSU official Beth Vincent-Pietsch said the combined effects of the improvements to the pay scales, access to salary packaging opportunities and the introduction of a “district allowance” for staff working in remote locations meant that some of the poorest paid AHL public servants could be up to $9000 a year better off.
“For these people, this was huge,” Ms Vincent-Pietsch
“This offer gave some seriously improved pay.”
The union official said she and her colleagues were pleased with the outcome for the AHL workers, despite the union having urged them to reject it in last month’s workplace ballot, but cautioned it was no watershed in the broader workplace disputes racking the public service.
“The circumstances are very exceptional and they’re a sad set of facts,” Ms Vincent-Pietsch said.
“They only got more because they were at the bottom of the barrell and that’s something the government should not be proud of, to allow an agency to fall so far.
“But I don’t see this as a breakthrough that other agencies could use and that’s because nobody was as badly off to begin with.”
AHL chief executive Tony Usher said he too was pleased with the outcome that had been achieved and said that many other things had improved since he and his colleagues had taken over the management of the agency in 2016.
“The original offer that the previous management made, along with a whole lot of other stuff, I wouldn’t have called best practice,”
“When you get a 96 per cent no-vote, that’s about more than the offer, that’s about perception of management.”
The chief executive says he and his colleagues had worked hard to put together a reasonable offer and get the approval of the government’s workplace enforce, The Public Service Commission.
“We were doing it one two basis, one to make sure they support us, but two, to make sure they had a reasonable offer for the work they do for us,” Mr Usher said.
“Sometimes it’s a tough environment that these guys work in.”