The rights of our servants of democracy

As you read this, every single enterprise agreement across the entire Australian Public Service has expired. That’s across 117 agencies. And out of those 117, only 19 agencies have tabled a pay proposal.

Two agencies – the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Human Services – are already taking industrial action.

Many more will soon join these two including the departments of Agriculture, Employment, Environment, Defence and Geoscience Australia, CSIRO and the Australian Institute of Criminology.

The Abbott Government is facing widespread industrial action as a result of the appalling deals being offered to public servants – to our servants of democracy.

It is thanks to public servants that our national interests are protected here and abroad.

It is thanks to public servants that the sick, elderly and disabled are looked after.

It is thanks to public servants that our cities and towns are kept safe.

Despite this the Abbott Government is attacking their pay and conditions.

The Employment Minister is trying to introduce nasty deals that slash conditions, remove rights, diminish job security, increase hours, cut super protections, dilute redundancy rights and, in some cases, actually reduce employees’ take-home pay.

While enterprise bargaining agreements expired in the middle of last year, pay offers for the vast majority of departments and agencies will not be put on the table until later this year.

During this time public servants are receiving no allowance for inflation on their wages – meaning they are financially worse off.

Just last month Department of Defence staff were offered a below inflation deal that will see their real wages fall, as well as lose out on a number of hard fought for conditions.

At the CSIRO - after the Abbott Government cut its budget by $115 million last year resulting in hundreds of job losses, site closures and the abandonment of research – the government is now attacking the remaining workers’ pay and conditions.

The Abbott Government wants to increase total working hours, remove leave and make it harder for people to get promoted.

The Australian Public Service shed 11,000 jobs last year – that’s the steepest downturn in APS jobs since John Howard’s first term as Prime Minister.

Thousands of public servants in Canberra have little to no job security, placing them under enormous personal strain.

Coalition governments have shown time and time again they have nothing but contempt for the public service. The damage being done by the Abbott Government will take a decade or more to fix – because you simply can't put the public service back together overnight.

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