Confusion? Who says there’s confusion around enterprise bargaining in federal agencies that have yet to sign new pay agreements?
“There is no confusion within government agencies regarding this matter,” states Australian Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd in his latest rebuttal of a news report on Commonwealth workforce matters.
Lloyd has taken issue with an article in The Canberra Times again today, accusing the paper of “disingenuous” reporting.
The article claims there is “confusion” between Minister Michaelia Cash’s statement that the “government’s position is clear” and departmental statements that they are “still waiting” for advice on the re-elected Turnbull government’s “policy approach”.
This reported “policy vacuum” has led to departments “stalling” in negotiations, according to the report, which gives the views of union sources on talks in the Department of Defence and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as examples.
But according to the APSC’s statement, part of a more active — and in some cases combative — approach to communications under Lloyd’s leadership, this is a fictional narrative and everyone is on the same page with Cash, or at least clear on her intent:
“It is normal practice for the government to make policy announcements and to advise departments of these. Departmental secretaries were advised within an hour of the Government’s announcement being made yesterday.”
In the minister’s statement yesterday, she said it was the union that was trying to slow down the bargaining process by launching action against her in the Fair Work Commission.
Last week, Lloyd accused the paper of providing an “incomplete picture” of APS pay rise data which was also noted by us last week.
It’s true that median senior executive pay rose 1.4% over 2015, but according to the APSC:
“The median total reward increase for the SES, which includes salary and benefits such as superannuation, was only 0.6%. This shows that the majority of the base salary increase is due to the rolling of benefits into base salary.”
Lloyd’s problem with the local paper’s coverage relates mainly to its quoting of the Community and Public Sector Union’s view that the data showed the bosses “giving themselves decent pay rises” while others missed out, as unfair as it is misleading. Never mind that it’s actually the Remuneration Tribunal setting the “bosses'” salaries, and SES don’t set their own.
Lloyd repeated his argument that if the remaining hold-outs had just accepted new agreements several years ago, the data about their pay now would be much more favourable.