DFWA POSITION ON REVIEW OF SALARY RELATED ALLOWANCES & WRA-DECA

3 May 2012

A considerable number of DFWA members and supporters have expressed an interest in Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA) activities in respect of the ADF WRA and related matters.  They will be interested in the following:
 
On 2MAY12 the DFWA sought leave at the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal – DFRT- (which was granted) to intervene in the case – SALARY RELATED ALLOWANCE REVIEW – which commenced on that day.  
 
This case as the name suggests involves a rather lengthy process to review Salary Related Allowances, such as Service Allowance, Special Forces Allowance, Field Allowance etc.  there are some 90+ allowance rates.
 
The intended methodology of the case parallels that applied to the Graded Pay Cases, in which a series of Hearings are planned to build the Case in a modular fashion until a final proposal is placed before the Tribunal for their approval and determination.  
 
The Salary Related Allowances Case is obviously in its very early stage but DFWA was able to indicate:
We generally supported the ADF intended methodology and structure suggestions, subject to of course as the Review proceeds, the model working and in particular the Tribunal being advised of the ADF Member information and education campaign and any associated feedback.
However, there were some points DFWA wished to highlight on separate but related matters – WRA & DECA Outcomes. 
These included: 
o We had been advised by the ADF that they and the Commonwealth believed there were no material differences between the WRA & DECA and thus no further action. (CDF has made an announcement to ADF members in this regard).
o DFWA did not agree. (and still does not agree after analysing the ADF figures).
o But in the context of that day’s deliberations on Salary Related Allowances for example (and without canvassing the issues at length)
In DECA Salary Related Allowances were adjusted 9% upfront.  In WRA Salary Related Allowances adjusted 4% / 2.5% / 2.5%.
Difference on each $10000 of allowances is $714 over the three year period.
Thus for example Service Allowance difference is about $800.
With other allowances, in today’s subject – for example – Clearance Diver / Special Forces quanta are $20,000 or $36000 thus differences are in order of $1400 or $ 2500.
And these could be cumulative with Service Allowance for Major and below ranks.
Additionally we highlighted, in the context of the Tribunal’s Reasons For Decision on WRA in November 2011 –  in which the tribunal highlighted the incongruity of ADF members being required to operate inside ‘A Government Bargaining Framework when they had no capacity to bargain’ and the Tribunal’s direction that The Parties (ADF & Commonwealth) provide feedback on how this might be resolved, 
o DFWA was heartened to be advised that this matter was being staffed by ADF 
o the intention was to included DFWA in the deliberations 
o this fundamental issue made all the more important that the WRA / DECA issue be resolved.  
Accordingly, our support on the issues of the day was predicated upon it not compromising DFWA’s ability to seek the Tribunal to re-open the WRA case should DFWA and The Parties’ differences not be resolved.
And we recommended most strongly that the ADF Member communication be a specific Tribunal direction in the Salary related Allowance case.
 
The Tribunal adjourned to consider its decisions on the matter.  The next Hearings are scheduled for June 2012.
 
**ADDENDUM**
 
Here is a very short summary of some further advice on the DFWA position regarding the DECA / WRA comparison: 
The WRA will deliver 36 months of approved salary increases in its three year term.  The DECA will only deliver 26 (and a bit) months of approved salary increases because some 9 and a bit months were lost in dispute.  Hence by simple arithmetic an ADF member will receive more than an APS member on the same Basic salary.  It was this reality that in large part drove the DFWAs pragmatic decision not to oppose the Agreed Case by The Parties at the DFRT last October 2011.
But the DECA includes two lump sum payments to APS Staff.  These obviously cannot be ‘compensation for salary increases forgone’ – this and any ‘retrospectivity’ is not allowed by Government.  Hence they are incentives for APS staff to vote Yes.   Where are the similar lump sum payments for ADF staff who by a ‘vote’ of 62% rejected the Agreed Case – yet had it imposed upon them?
Then there is the Salary Related Allowance issue discussed above.
Finally there is the issue of the salary increase in the DECA constructed around Knowledge Transfer / Performance Progression.  While there is no direct ADF equivalent (perhaps there should be) the wider issue is that obviously such an increase is compliant with Government policy.  Where is the evidence that The Parties have even considered such an option for ADF staff  – there is none.  DFWA believes the parties should volunteer or be directed to undertake such action.
Hence, comparing the DECA & WRA is much more than just a simple and predictable ‘Cash-in-Hand’ comparison on Basic salary.
 
A DFWA REQUEST FOR MEMBER & SUPPORTER FEEDBACK – THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT
 
WOULD YOU CONSIDER THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE WRA & DECA TO BE ‘MATERIAL’ IF THEY INVOLVED DETRIMENT TO ADF MEMBERS OVER THE THREE YEAR LIFE OF THE ARRAGEMENT / AGREEMENT TOTALLING:
 
A. BETWEEN $250 and $500
B. BETWEEN $500 and $1000
C. OVER $1000
 
PLEASE PROVIDE DFWA WITH YOU VIEW (AND ADDITIONAL FEEDBACK IF YOU WISH) TO:  wra@dfwa.org.au
 
Phil Morrall
VP – Pay & Conditions of Service
DFWA