Trouble at t’mill? No, trouble at the Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor General, better known as the OGG.
Senate Estimates has revealed that while spending on official residencies and the like is charging ahead, the largesse seems to stop where wages are concerned. Staff at the OGG are said to be less than thrilled with the low offers and long delays in current pay negotiations.
Many OGG staff – particularly those doing grounds and household work – are dramatically underpaid compared with similar positions in the Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Environment and Heritage and Parliamentary Services.
A recent management offer of 15% over 39 months has been overwhelmingly rejected by staff because it fails to deal with the considerable gap that’s emerged between OGG wages and those in other parts of the public service.
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While the GG himself is held in high personal regard by staff, the same cannot be said for the senior management team lead by Malcolm Hazel.
A CPSU bulletin from last week says industrial action is likely. It reports an “80%+ vote to reject management’s final offer and to start an industrial campaign to improve the certified agreement…”
“After the meeting your union contacted management and formally advised them that staff had rejected the offer. Management reaffirmed there was definitely no room to move,” it says. “We have made it clear to management that industrial action remains as the last resort. We are prepared to genuinely negotiate with management if they are prepared to rethink their current offer. However we believe the only way management will look at a new offer is if staff commit to some form of action.”
“You are entitled to take legally protected industrial action under section 170ML of the Workplace Relations Act, to pursue a better deal. Union members have this legal protection,” it advises.
So if you drop by Yarralumla over coming weeks and find it’s serve-yourself scones, you’ll know why.