Australia : Strike action looms at ABC over bargaining impasse
CPSU members working at the ABC are preparing to take strike action over the broadcaster’s harsh and unreasonable approach to enterprise bargaining.
The Fair Work Commission has granted the union’s application
The ballot is a legal requirement for staff to take industrial action, with overwhelming support expected. The first action is likely to begin within weeks.
CPSU ABC Section Secretary Sinddy Ealy said: “ABC staff are furious at the approach taken by management through these negotiations. Staff have faced a lot in recent years, including the sacking of hundreds of their colleagues, and feel like the ABC’s senior leadership are trying to kick them while they’re down.”
“Discussions towards a new enterprise agreement began five months ago, with harsh cuts to allowances and conditions being pushed that would undermine the pay and job security of hardworking staff. It has become clear that ABC management isn’t listening to our members’ concerns or negotiating in any meaningful sense.”
“Industrial action by ABC staff including striking will have an impact on programming, but that’s nothing compared to the long-term damage that’s being caused by the Turnbull Government’s cuts to ABC funding and now by ABC management’s ham-fisted enterprise negotiations.”
“The skills, dedication and professionalism of staff are what makes the ABC the critical national institution that it is. It’s not only staff and their families who will suffer if management’s agenda goes unchallenged; undermining the professionalism of ABC staff will in turn undermine the quality of ABC programs and content.”
Among the most concerning elements of ABC management’s proposals are:
· Moving essential rights and conditions out of the agreement and into unenforceable policy.
· Refusing to consider improvements to redundancy processes in the wake of recent job cuts.
· Removing travel allowance payment, further adding to the out-of-pocket costs staff are forced to cover while working away from home.
· Reducing the minimum call-out time for casual workers from four to two hours.
The CPSU has agreed not to proceed with industrial action in the event of natural disasters or other emergencies.
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