Are you interested in defence after election time?
That’s the question local Department of Defence employees were asking as they rallied outside Lindsay MP David Bradbury’s office on Wednesday over a new pay offer, which they claim will cut their take home pay.
They stood holding posters that displayed a photo of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Mr Bradbury at a HMAS naval base in Darwin just before the Federal Election last year.
Defence civilian employees from the area are among thousands nationwide seeking a pay offer that recognises the support they provide to frontline military operations.
“After more than six months of negotiations over a new pay deal, and millions of dollars in savings and efficiencies identified and implemented by these employees, Defence has made them an insulting offer that amounts to a pay cut,” said Robyn Fortescue from the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union.
“The position Defence is taking is demoralising at a time these employees are supporting a number of critical military deployments.
“We are hoping [Mr Bradbury] will publicly support Defence employees and use his influence in government to make sure they get a fair go.”
Mr Bradbury said he was surprised the union would stage a protest without requesting to speak with him first.
“Enterprise bargaining is at the heart of Labor’s Fair Work,” he said.
Mr Bradbury said disagreements in the stage of bargaining were not unexpected or unusual.
“Defence, employees and unions have approached bargaining in a sensible and productive way and I am confident that they will be able to deliver a new agreement that provides a fair and responsible deal for both the Department as employer and for employees,” he said.