ABC escalates fight with management over wages

Australian Broadcasting Corporation employees are escalating a dispute with management over wage rises and working conditions, lodging two separate requests with the Fair Work Commission that will ultimately allow them to strike.

The unions which represent ABC staff – the Community and Public Sector Union and Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance – are filing applications for a protected action ballot, which will allow union members to take industrial action such as work restrictions, bans and strikes as they continue to fight management over a new enterprise agreement.

MEAA and CPSU members overwhelmingly rejected a proposed agreement from ABC management late last year, which included a 3 percent wage increase and changes to some working conditions.

ABC management could face strike action in a matter of months if it does not come to an agreement with the staff.Credit:Steven Siewert

The CPSU’s ABC section secretary, Sinddy Ealy, said staff were sick of management “crying poor” and expecting staff to make financial sacrifices.

“If the ABC cannot pay staff wages that keep up with the cost of living, then that is a problem they should raise with the federal government,” Ealy said. “The solution to that issue is not to turn around and ask staff to continuously accept sub-inflation pay rises that leaves them and their families struggling to keep up with the cost of living.”


The MEAA, which represents editorial staff members, will file a separate application on Thursday. “ABC staff delivered a resounding ‘no’ vote last year when management insisted on putting forward an insulting and inferior offer,” MEAA Media’s director, Cassie Derrick, said.

“The ABC has been running on a business model of overwork, underpay and systemic inequality for a long time, but now there is an opportunity for a fresh approach by management under a government that has already provided more funding for the ABC after years of cuts .”

The national broadcaster last year received an $83.7 million increase in operational funding and a $32 million boost for international services as part of the federal government’s budget. The government is also moving from a three-year to five-year funding model.

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