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NBN Co negotiations slowed by government interference

Negotiations for a new Enterprise Agreement (EA) for NBN Co’s technical staff continue to be hampered by federal government interference.

Last year, discussions were progressing well. Then the Abbott government cast its policy net over the process, insisting that any new EA must comply with its general policy for Commonwealth public sector agreements.

These require so-called productivity offsets in return for wage rises – even those that might be below the level of inflation.

As a result, NBN Co has now revised down its wage offer.

It has also indicated that, at this stage, the agreement will contain no provision for back-pay. This too is in line with government policy and is basically designed to starve government employees into submission if they attempt to resist reductions to conditions.

As NBN Co employees have not received a wage rise since 2013, this is unlikely to be acceptable to CWU members.

Finally NBN Co has advised the CWU that it has been told that certain other aspects of the proposed EA such as the consultation clause and the individual flexibility agreement provisions aren’t in line with government policy.

NBN Co has undertaken to produce a new draft EA reflecting government policy in these areas. The CWU expects to receive the draft in the coming week.

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