Wednesday, 27 June 2018 06:52

BoM staff make wage appeal public – very public Featured

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Staff at the Bureau of Meteorology have made their dissatisfaction with their pay known – and chosen the daily weather forecasts to inform the public about the issue.

On Wednesday morning, the Melbourne forecast read: "Mostly cloudy. Areas of morning fog. Patches of light early morning frost in the Yarra Valley. Light winds."

But what followed did not concern the weather, but rather the workers' pay packets.

bom

A screenshot of the Melbourne forecast on the BoM site taken at 6.40am on Wednesday.

"Bureau staff have been fighting for years to hold onto the conditions we have, but they are under attack. The Executive and the Government want to see the Bureau staff go backwards, the remainder of the text read.

"This 5 year pay freeze - while we defend our allowances and conditions - is hurting us and hurting our families. We love the work we do, we know you value it too. Please support us to get a fair deal. http://bit.ly/bomstaff Authorised by Nadine Flood CPSU National Secretary."

The BoM was last in the news for something similar when the face of disgraced American television star Roseanne Barr suddenly appeared multiple times in a radar image on the Bureau's website.

At that time, the bureau denied there had been any intrusion into its network.

The link given in the additional text which appears along with the Melbourne forecast leads to a page where the headline reads: "To: Minister Frydenberg. Bureau of Meteorology employees need your support."

bom2

The website hosting a campaign for better pay for BoM staff.

The text on the page seeks to make an argument for a wage rise in a campaign which is being organised by the Community and Public Sector Union.

Contacted for comment, the BoM indirectly addressed the presence of the employees' campaign text on the website.

"The Bureau respects the rights of union members to take protected industrial action. The Bureau has a responsibility to ensure that its products and services, including its forecasts and warnings, are not compromised. The Bureau is putting various measures in place to meet that responsibility and to maintain the standard of its products and services," a spokesperson told iTWire.

"The Bureau of Meteorology has put to its staff a new Enterprise Agreement, with voting now underway. The proposed agreement provides a substantially front-loaded pay increase, protects core conditions, is financially sustainable and complies with the Government's Workplace Bargaining Policy.

"It enables the Bureau to continue to provide the critical services we provide to the Australian community in an affordable, sustainable way. The proposed new Enterprise Agreement follows ongoing negotiation in good faith with staff and unions."

 

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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