Action stalemate

The ACT’s Chief Minister is seeking a resolution to the Action driver’s dispute urging independent arbitration

Action stalemate
Action stalemate

April 21, 2011

ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has written to the TWU and AMWU asking for agreement to independent arbitration following months of negotiations on the Action driver’s dispute.

"It is a matter of enormous regret to the Government that the AMWU and the TWU have not been prepared to compromise on any of the issues under negotiation," Stanhope says.

The ACT Government has encouraged the unions to pursue arbitration through Fair Work Australia.

Stanhope says both unions have repeatedly rejected this offer.

"The Government is now calling on the unions to agree to put the negotiations to an independent arbitrator and be bound by the recommendations of the arbitrator," he says.

The ACT Government is seeking agreement on a 2.5 per cent pay increase and a $650 sign-on bonus.

"Since the bargaining process commenced almost 18 months ago, the Government has made a number of significant concessions in what it was seeking, however the unions have repeatedly refused to budge from their position," says Stanhope.

"The Government is inviting the unions to put forward the names of three people who could be considered for appointment as the arbitrator and the Government will do likewise with the preferred person agreed on by all parties."

He says independent arbitration has been used previously and led to a successful outcome in deciding pay outcomes for teachers in 2006 following a similar bout of negotiations between the Government and the Australian Education Union.

"The Government has a precedent in accepting the views of independent advice in such matters and we are calling on the AMWU and the TWU to do the same here," Stanhope says.

"The protracted negotiations and uncertainty for both the bus travelling public and Action staff simply cannot continue.

"I urge the unions to accept the Government's offer of appointing an independent arbitration committee."

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