Enterprise bargaining requires negotiation from both sides. The government’s policy provides the flexibility for this to occur on the employer side. This is in stark contrast to the public sector unions’ bargaining policy, which, as the IPA understands, has objected to every single proposed APS agreement – including those agreements which have ultimately resulted in approval from employees.
The IPA’s research provides a weight of evidence in support of our submission that the government’s workplace bargaining policy is justified.
In particular, our research shows that the previous APS agreements provide that general salary levels for APS-level employees will incrementally increase by a total of 9 per cent over the life of the agreements (April 2012 – June 2014). There is also a presumption of a further salary increase for APS employees each year by advancing through the APS classification steps. Additional lump-sum payments in six APS agreements have the effect of boosting salaries by an average of $2,420 for those employees. There is clear evidence in the ABS statistics that public sector wages are, on average, higher than the private sector.
The IPA submits that the 2 per cent increase in remuneration outlined in clause 11 of the government’s bargaining policy is justified based on previous increases, and the higher starting position.