NGA says new employee agreement will ‘modernise’ workforce as union tries to stall it

By Jackson Graham

January 28, 2022

National Gallery of Australia building
Staff at the National Gallery of Australia are voting on a new proposed EA this week. (Rafael Ben-Ari/Adobe)

Staff at the National Gallery of Australia are voting on a new proposed enterprise agreement this week, with the public sector union attempting to muster votes to stall the proposed changes. 

The Community and Public Sector Union claims there are up to 40 changes that will adversely affect staff, particularly highlighting the removal of specifics surrounding flexible work and “massive cuts” to part-time work rights. 

But a gallery spokesperson told The Mandarin the new agreement was intended to make employee entitlements “clear and easy to understand” and “modernise and contemporise” the workforce and practices. 

“The proposed EA does not change entitlements or conditions of employment for part-time or casual employees,” they said. 

They also said the proposed EA includes a commitment to a flexible work environment, “that assists employees to balance their work and private commitments while meeting operational needs”. 

“The National Gallery supports and is committed to all forms of flexible working arrangements, including working from home,” the NGA spokesperson said. 

The union lists more rigorous flexi-time approvals, 18-day personal leave entitlements being earned progressively rather than being granted at the start of employment, and removal of enforceable requirements for training and development to be part of performance management as further sticking points. 

During previous negotiations, the CPSU says it won greater rights for casuals, including raising their loading and ensuring higher duties are paid immediately. 

The gallery had 321 staff,  101 of whom were casuals, the most recent available annual report data shows.  

Voting on the enterprise agreement opened from 8.30am on January 24 and is due to close at noon on January 31.


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