Professionals Australia has lodged a formal dispute with the Fair Work Commission after Airservices Australia moved to remove salary progression from staff conditions.
Representing engineers at the air traffic control agency, Professionals Australia has acted to bring Airservices management to the conciliation table over the agency’s decision to remove salary progression, which allowed staff to move through pay classifications.
Professionals Australia’s ACT director David Smith said the move would essentially freeze pay increases, except in the cases of promotion.
Mr Smith said that Professionals Australia was concerned that the removal or slowing down of the progression through pay grades was a trend across the federal bureaucracy.
Mr Smith said it was an attempt to retrofit Airservices Australia’s agreement with staff, which was struck last year, to put it in line with the federal government’s hardline stance on pay and conditions at the moment.
“[The change] was never raised in agreement negotiations,” he said.
Mr Smith said Airservices staff were looking at total stagnation of pay outside their annual increases, which go up with inflation.”
“What they won’t get is any real recognition of their growth and expertise as they will be stuck at the same point in their pay scale,” he said.
Professionals Australia will attend the urgent Fair Work Commission hearing on Friday.
Read full story and David Smith’s comments in the Sydney Morning Herald, Professionals Australia calls for Fair Work Commission conciliation meetings in Airservices Australia, Phillip Thomson, 26 June 2014.
On Friday, Airservices agreed to delay implementation by three weeks. Professionals Australia now looks to have some constructive discussions that resolve the dispute.