'Prescriptive clauses' limit productivity, Lloyd says

By The Mandarin

March 2, 2016

The federal public service commissioner has challenged the union over “prescriptive clauses” in enterprise agreements that limit productivity.

In his regular note to Commonwealth bureaucrats, John Lloyd says assertions from the Community and Public Sector Union “need to be challenged because they do not convey the full story”.

A number of departments and agencies are locked in at times hostile negotiations over new enterprise agreements, with the government enforcing spending limits that require bosses to creatively negotiate any pay increase.

The union has warned conditions long enjoyed by public servants are being removed from agreements. Last month, Labor claimed breast feeding provisions were being cut. Lloyd’s office told The Mandarin there would be “no effect” on women if the clauses were removed in new contracts.

In his note today, Lloyd said it is “appropriate that matters ancillary to fundamental workplace rights be documented in policies rather than agreements”:

“Enterprise agreements that comprise numerous prescriptive clauses limit the opportunities to create modern productive workplaces …

“Many examples exist in the private sector of prescriptive agreements limiting competitive growth opportunities or hastening the demise of businesses.

“Agencies do not disregard their obligations contained in policy documents.”

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