Union members in the ACT’s public prosecution office are voting against a proposed enterprise agreement for the first time in 20 years, and advising all their colleagues to do the same.
After 12 months of negotiation over future pay and conditions for prosecutors, paralegals and associates, the Community and Public Sector Union says the territory government has bowled up a bad deal to update the ACT Government Legal Professionals Agreement.
According to the CPSU’s deputy national president, Brook Muscat-Bentley, the ACT justice system relies on prosecutors doing “vast amounts of unpaid hours” — in some cases double what they are paid for.
The union says the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is severely understaffed and some prosecutors are walking out the door because the government will not provide flexible working arrangements.
“It is incomprehensible that the government is allowing their own staff to work, on occasion, almost double the hours they are paid,” Muscat-Bentley said in a statement.
“All our members in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions want is some form of recognition for the time they spend away from their family and friends while working to ensure our judicial system continues to deliver for the people of the ACT.”
“The CPSU estimates that the DPP is currently understaffed by almost 600 hours per week. We are calling on the Government to adequately staff the DPP, and ensure these staff have access to the same provisions that the rest of the ACT public service do.
“ACT Public Prosecutors will always put justice, victims, witnesses and the public before everything else, but the ACT Government must act to ensure staff have fair conditions to ensure the longevity of our judicial system. The ACT Government can no longer condemn wage theft on one hand while allowing this treatment of its own to continue. Our members are only seeking what is fair, and what their colleagues in the public service are currently entitled to.”