Further to Updates #4, #5 and #6, the Department’s response to our offer of 25 February was eventually received – almost a day late – by fax this afternoon. That letter can be found in full within the Union’s website update for today.
When you read their response it’s hard to imagine how it could take anyone over a day and a half to write it. It says nothing other than to repeat their whining of February 24, and fails to address any of the points raised in our letter to them of February 25. The one thing they have offered to do is to meet with us sometime this Friday. Not today or tonight, not tomorrow or even Thursday, but Friday. We’ve already been told that if agreement is not reached for the payment of the 2nd $350 by Thursday then it won’t be possible to pay it by next pay day on 9 March.
It is becoming increasingly clear that neither the Department nor the Government are serious about resolving these disputes. They seem content to see our negotiations drift on forever, pushing out to new timetables and new deadlines only to see them come and go without result. Well we are not.
Today’s letter from the Department is nothing more than an insult to each and every member, permanent and retained, who agreed in good faith to lift our previous bans in order to negotiate a settlement to both the D&D dispute and our Award claims. Of course we did the same last year on several occasions, only to see the employer ignore us and spit in our faces then too. This is no different.
The Department wanted to extend the negotiation deadline by four weeks and we turned around and offered them five. The Union offered to meet with them at short notice, and around the clock if necessary, yet they responded with a meeting sometime at the end of the week. Even then, the Union, sick of talking to the monkeys rather than the organ grinders, sought meetings at the Ministerial level in an attempt to avoid renewed industrial action. They’ve responded by offering yet another meeting with the same old hacks from the Department who haven’t got the answers and who can’t make the necessary decisions. It’s beyond a joke.
Special General Meetings of members will now be held next week to allow members to consider and determine the further direction of both the Award and D&D Disputes. Meeting details will be faxed to all stations and posted to our website in a separate notice by midday tomorrow.