War on duds? Tax Office is ‘bargaining in good faith’

By The Mandarin

Monday August 18, 2014

The Australian Taxation Office says it’s bargaining with employees on a new enterprise agreement “in good faith”, rejecting reports it would force new performance management criteria on staff to remove “dud” employees.

Geoff Leeper, the ATO’s second commissioner of taxation, has written to The Canberra Times to respond to its “one-sided article” — “Public service set to go to war against ‘duds’” — which said changes in performance management rules would see lower quality employees forced out:

“Our bargaining team — which is working constructively with unions and ATO employee representatives to negaotiate a new workforce agreement — has no and would never use that term to describe underperforming staff. In fact out bargaining team repeatedly made it clear during negotiations that the term was inappropriate …

“We continue to bargain in good faith with unions and employee representatives as we negotiate a new enterprise agreement. Good faith bargaining means conducting ourselves in a professional manner, not running a public campaign on our position.”

Leeper said “many public service agencies are facing challenges” to reduce expenditure and staff numbers.

The ATO employees 23,000 public servants across Australia. The Times has reported the Department of Human Services also wants to clear out underperforming workers at Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Support Agency.


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