The new ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement 2011 – 2014 was considered by the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal (DFRT) on 27 October 2011. For many years the Defence Force Welfare Association has been an Intervener on the DFRT appearing before it on many occasions and we represented your interests at the hearing on 27 October.
The National President of DFWA, David Jamison, believes DFWA members and the wider ADF membership need to understand the constraints within which this decision was reached:
The ADF & Commonwealth, at the Hearing on 27 October, only released their 150 page submission to the Interveners (DFWA & RSL) some 40 minutes prior to Hearing commencement.
The ADF & Commonwealth suggested that any alternative submission proposing variation to the Agreed Case would almost certainly necessitate delays of about four months or so. Additionally, any retrospectivity of a subsequent DFRT determination as a consequence of that Hearing would be very very unlikely.
The ADF & Commonwealth advised the Tribunal that any delay in their determination in the current Agreed Case beyond 1600 hrs 28 October would occasion a delay of about three months in the actual payment of any pay-rise to ADF members.
David Jamison commented that these ‘five minute to midnight’ time constraints placed on the Tribunal’s deliberation and hearing processes when the deadline for achieving a new WRA has been known for 3 years was at best unfortunate and at worst totally inappropriate. That ADF members, who individually and collectively had in no way contributed to this circumstance, should have their Pay Case so constrained was absolutely unacceptable.
The DFWA advocate informed the Tribunal of the feedback provided by ADF members including their wish for a salary increase quantum closer to 12% plus productivity rewards of 1.5% for each of the three years. He emphasised the importance of the member feedback provided to the ADF, which clearly indicated the Agreed Case offer was not supported by a significant majority of ADF members and of the implications of then imposing such an unsatisfactory outcome.
DFWA expressed its displeasure in having to recognise the unacceptable realities detailed by the ADF & Commonwealth (see above) and with great reluctance indicated it would not oppose the Agreed Case. This decision based solely on pragmatism, was made to ensure ADF members at least received something.
The matter of what would occur if the APS DECA outcome differed from the ADF WRA outcome figured prominently in the Tribunal’s questioning of the ADF & Commonwealth. The ADF appeared reluctant to ‘guarantee’ to approach the Tribunal seeking an appropriate change to the WRA – the clearly expressed view was that CDF and Service Chiefs would consider such action, in concert with the Commonwealth, but no firmer commitment was made.
DFWA will speak publicly on this decision. It will watch events very closely and will seek opportunities to improve your pay outcome.
One lesson to come out of this is that DFWA needs to be able to speak with greater effectiveness but to do that we need your support. We need a much larger membership from serving personnel as well as additional resources. We are your “professional association”. We were founded in 1959 by serving personnel to promote better service conditions for you and that remains our focus.
Read the Australian Financial Review article on the WRA and the Associations involvement here
Read the Camaraderie article on this matter here
Read our Press Release (29 Oct 11) on the Ministers Commentary here