Open letter to Australian Public Service Employees on APS bargaining
I am writing to provide you with an update on work being undertaken by the Australian Public Service Commission (the Commission) to develop a new approach to workplace relations in the Australian Public Service (APS). This includes the development of a comprehensive workplace relations policy, with a view to undertaking service wide bargaining for common core terms and conditions in 2023
The release of the Public Sector Interim Workplace Arrangements 2022 (Interim Arrangements) last month gives the Commission the time needed to consult on and develop a long term approach to service wide bargaining.
The Minister for the Public Service, Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher, has made an early policy decision that service wide bargaining should be limited to APS agencies and their employees. This includes all agencies who engage employees under the Public Service Act 1999. At the same time, we will develop separate arrangements for agencies who engage employees under different enabling legislation ie non-APS Commonwealth agencies.
The Commission has established a Workplace Relations Bargaining Taskforce (the Taskforce). Peter Riordan PSM will lead the Taskforce. He brings a wealth of workplace relations experience in the public sector and will take a lead in service wide negotiations, when they commence in 2023.
The Taskforce will be responsible for developing the approach to service wide bargaining. To do this the Taskforce will acknowledge the diversity of agencies and their employees. The Taskforce has already begun consulting with APS agencies and public sector unions. The new arrangements will enable the negotiation of certain common core terms and conditions in the APS and will also give agencies the flexibility to negotiate specific conditions. I expect initial steps will be taken to address pay dispersion across the APS. This is consistent with the Government’s expectations.
Information on service-wide bargaining will be regularly updated on the Commission website – www.apsc.gov.au/APSbargaining.
Please take the time to engage with this crucial reform initiative as we head into 2023.
Peter Woolcott AO
8 November 2022