Work is well and truly underway at the AFPA in preparation for the upcoming Enterprise Agreement negotiations.
I have established an internal Enterprise Agreement Operational Committee comprised of AFPA staff. This committee has been reviewing suggestions made by members since the last Enterprise Agreement came into effect. Informed by your ideas and issues, the committee have been working through the EA, clause by clause, and making amendments to reflect your feedback.
Furthermore, I have formed an Enterprise Agreement Advisory Committee made up from members of the AFPA National Executive, delegates, and senior staff. The Advisory Committee will advise myself and my staff on broader strategic decisions, including the creation of a Log of Claims.
We have developed a series of targeted short surveys which will be disseminated over the course of the year. These surveys will focus on specific Parts of the current Enterprise Agreement and inform the work of both the Advisory and Operational Committees.
The first survey concentrates on Part VIII – Resignation, Retirement and Termination of Employment, and Part IX – Miscellaneous. The survey can be found here, and we encourage all members to participate.
The new Minister for the Public Service, Katy Gallagher, is currently working with the Australian Public Service Commission to create a new policy to govern enterprise bargaining within Commonwealth agencies. As you would be aware if you were in the AFP during bargaining for the current Enterprise Agreement, the old workplace bargaining policy was exceedingly restrictive to the point that it hamstrung meaningful negotiations.
Notably, the policy capped salary increases, banned enhancements to existing agreements (e.g. new allowances), and prohibited back-pay if negotiations ran longer than expected. Furthermore, pay-rises could only be funded by cutting existing terms and conditions. This created an environment in which it was near impossible to deliver an Enterprise Agreement beneficial to members. While neither the Minister nor the APSC have indicated when the new industrial framework will be released, we expect to see something in the coming months. I am optimistic that it will be an arrangement which will facilitate proper pay-rises and an improved EA.
Additionally, the AFPA is cognisant of the cost-of-living pressures members are facing due to rising inflation. We have advocated our position to the Commissioner to ask that he authorise a one-off payment to all AFP employees to alleviate these stresses and recognise the hard work of members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commissioner indicated that while he appreciated the situation and would like to provide some form of compensation, this would not be possible at this stage due to budgetary issues and fiscal constraints. We will be writing to the minister responsible for the AFP, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus to consider facilitating such a payment, in line with similar bonuses awarded to some state police forces and public service agencies. We will keep members informed as this matter progresses.
We encourage you to submit your ideas for the EA here on our website.
If you wish to discuss anything EA-related, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.