Yesterday, AFP employees delivered a clear message to the AFP Executive that they will not accept the Enterprise Agreement being offered by the AFP. 87.2% of employees cast a vote, and of those 80.88% voted no, meaning that only 19.12% voted yes.
To set the scene, the circumstances leading into the vote were as follows:
- Bargaining had been ongoing for 18 months, with no previous votes having occurred.
- AFP employees have not had an increase in pay since 2015.
Australian Federal Police Association (AFPA) President, Angela Smith, had previously indicated to the AFP that the workforce would not accept the deal on the table. The proposed deal effectively removed conditions the workforce had fought hard to obtain over a number of years. “The importance of those conditions to the AFP workforce cannot be underestimated, particularly as rejection of the Enterprise Agreement means the workforce remains without a pay rise until the negotiations are concluded to the satisfaction of the membership”, says Smith.
In what Angela Smith describes as a “dirty tactic”, the AFP utilised an operational police system to promote its political agenda by using a pop up message, in the lead up to the voting period. The pop up message was required to be acknowledged by clicking “ok” before staff could access an AFP database.
After receiving an overwhelming response of negativity from the workforce, the pop up message was removed in less than four hours. Angela Smith says members of the workforce have reported feeling intimidated and bullied into voting “yes” and rejecting the message from the AFP through its strong “Vote NO” campaign.
For now, it is back to the bargaining table. The message from the AFPA is clear – they want no loss of conditions for the workforce, and a 2% pay rise each year. Angela Smith says that the AFPA is ready to go back to the table now, but it is not yet clear whether the AFP is ready. Angela has said that she hopes that in the next round of bargaining the AFP will genuinely engage in the process, rather than “ticking boxes”, and treat the workforce like a legitimate party to the process.