Feature story

AFMA settles on a new enterprise agreement

During 2011-12, AFMA successfully negotiated and passed a new enterprise agreement with a majority of staff voting yes to the agreement at the first vote.

The Enterprise Agreement 2011 came into effect on 7 November 2011 after intensive negotiations from late April through to September. The agreement will continue through to mid-2014.

The negotiating format differed from previous years. The Australian Public Service Commission imposed guidelines as the first step in a long-term process to bring all Commonwealth agencies under a standard set of employment conditions.

The Community and Public Sector Union was an integral part of the bargaining process. Employees could also select any person to represent them and a number of staff members joined the bargaining table representing themselves and/or other employees.

Overall negotiations were very positive and the resulting agreement provides a set of employment conditions that not only fit with the whole-of-government framework but also complement AFMA’s culture.

Some of the changes include paid leave for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) purposes, increase in the at-sea allowance for observers, inclusion of paid community service leave for emergency service volunteers, changes to adoption and foster care leave provisions, changes to bereavement/compassionate provisions and increase in overtime arrangements for employees on restricted duty.

The agreement also provides pay increases of nine per cent over the three years.

Where additional benefits were offered, the agency identified cost savings elsewhere to offset the additional costs.