Nuclear agency staff launch protest over delayed pay agreement
Jul 21, 2011
AMWU delegate Steven Barnett says members are prepared for industrial action.
An industrial showdown is looming between workers at Australia’s highly respected nuclear safety agency and the Australian Public Service Commission, following a protest in Melbourne today.
AMWU members from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) are frustrated the Federal Government have stalled on passing a new collective agreement.
AMWU National Industrial Officer, Darren Hanisch, said members couldn’t understand why the agreement had been delayed.
“In May, the management and the unions agreed to terms and conditions on a new collective agreement. More than two months later we’re still waiting for that agreement to be signed off by the government.
“It’s quite clear to us that the APSC wants to drag this out as long as possible to offset any wage increase they’ve agreed to. Every week that goes by our members miss out.”
He said the negotiations had been carried out in good faith with the site’s management.
“It’s completely unreasonable to expect workers to wait months for their new agreement to be passed– knowing full well that there is no provision in there for back pay.
“This is not bargaining in good faith. It’s a very low form of industrial relations.”
AMWU delegate, Steven Barnett, said the members were happy to have reached an agreement with ARPANSA management but were now angry to now see their deal held up by the government.
“It’s been a while since we’ve hit the grass (taken industrial action), we’ve come close in the past but if we’re still waiting in a few weeks we’ll have no other choice.
He said the agreement provided for wage increases and an increase to maternity leave of six weeks at full pay (for a total of 22 weeks) was a significant win for AMWU members.
The agency- which played an key role in advising government and the public about radiation levels in Australia following the Fukushima reactor disaster in Japan – has bases in Melbourne and Sydney.
Contact Email: news(at)amwu.asn.au