Thousands of government-funded ABC employees are set to receive an 11% pay increase, a $1500 bonus, and provisions addressing "gender and race pay gaps" following a majority vote in favour of the new pay deal.
The Australian newspaper reported that the three-year pay raise will include an audit of gender, race, and regional pay gaps, as well as improved access to progress through pay grades.
Sky News host Paul Murray highlighted the disparity between the 11% multi-year pay raise and $1,500 bonus for ABC staff and the impending $1,500 tax increase for 10 million Australians, remarking, "Could you think of anything more perfect?"
The agreement comes after months of negotiations involving ABC management, human resources officials, and union representatives. With 94.4% of staff voting in favor, the new pay offer has been accepted comfortably.
The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), the nation's largest journalists' union, confirmed the success of the new enterprise agreement to its members on Wednesday morning.
The pay increase will be retroactively applied from October 1 of the previous year. The agreement will also enable a review of pay progression and work level standards, in addition to improved conditions regarding entitlements like overtime and paid parental leave.
In February, managing director David Anderson stepped in to lead pay discussions with the MEAA and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) after negotiations between HR representatives and union officials reached a stalemate. The MEAA represents approximately 1100 members at ABC.
The agreement now awaits approval from the Fair Work Commission. In a recent e-newsletter, the MEAA outlined plans to enforce members' newly acquired rights and continue to enhance pay and conditions for insecurely employed, junior, and regional staff, enabling the ABC to provide sustainable careers and better serve the public.
During the protracted discussions, ABC staff threatened to strike on multiple occasions to secure higher pay increases and improved working conditions. However, they ultimately canceled the proposed industrial actions.
In contrast, the federal government granted public service employees an interim pay increase of 3% last October for those eligible for a raise between September 1, 2022, and August 31 of the current year.