Friday, 13 October 2017

WaterNSW CPSU NSW enterprise bargaining update

WaterNSW CPSU NSW enterprise bargaining update – October 2017 (PDF version)

Your CPSU NSW bargaining team met with Water NSW to progress bargaining for the proposed Water NSW Enterprise Agreement. For employees formerly in DPI Water, there seems to be little incentive to accept their proposal. With all employment conditions remaining, and pay rises provided by the Fair Work Commission (3.3 per cent 2017; 2.4 per cent 2016 and 2.5 per cent 2015) the offer by Water NSW needs to be worthwhile recommending. The CPSU NSW has lodged an application to ensure that the full 3.3 per cent is passed on and cannot be withheld.

Please note: any proposal is subject to CPSU NSW members’ endorsement. Your union must ensure any changes to pay and conditions are accepted only on the endorsement of the membership. The details below are tentative in-principle agreement subject to members’ approval.

  • For a detailed overview of the ALLOWANCES that have been agreed, amended or not yet agreed, please click HERE.
  • For a detailed overview of the CONDITIONS that have been agreed, amended or not yet agreed, please click HERE.
  • Bonus scheme – please click HERE to see our analysis of the Water NSW proposal

As for what the CPSU NSW has achieved during negotiations so far, the majority is keeping allowances and conditions that Water NSW was seeking to remove.

This included:

  • Extra week of annual leave for those west of the line – RETAINED
  • Sick leave – 20 days per annum for all employees
  • Parental Leave – available to primary carer regardless of gender, and includes adoption and surrogacy
  • Casual Loading – 25 per cent
  • First aid & Fire Warden allowance – RETAINED

The retention of the living in remote areas and travel allowance has not been agreed. This is complicated by SWC employees having had this moved into their salary as salary maintenance. For this to be retained for all employees, SWC employees would need to reduce their salary to bring it back. The proposal is not to maintain these as an allowance but grand parented for current employees only and not available to new employees.

Your feedback is needed: please click HERE for a quick survey on how you want your union to respond.

Relocation costs and extended living away from home have not been agreed. The unions are developing a counter proposal (one drafted by CPSU NSW and one drafted by Water NSW) to try to reach a compromise. The CPSU NSW will report back on this at a later stage.

 Salaries, pay rises and bonuses

The salary offer is the most complex and your CPSU NSW bargaining team has serious concerns about its short- and long-term impact on members. The only guaranteed pay rise being offered is two per cent for SWC, 0.35 per cent for DPI Water and 0.1 per cent for SCA employees, from 1 July 2017 to 30 September 2018.

The other two pay rises of two per cent for 2018 and 2019 (excluded the 296 above grade) are dependent on good performance. How this is defined in the Enterprise Agreement is yet to be provided. Water NSW suggests that it will only be withheld if you’re on a Performance Improvement Plan. This is managed by the Counselling and Discipline Clause which deals with both misconduct and poor performance. Water NSW did agree to back-dating a pay rise if the PIP is successfully challenged. This risk should never be built into the base pay rise, resulting in affected employees have a pay cut in real terms if they happen to be on a PIP at the time the pay rises are decided.

Currently employees don’t progress through their steps, or increments, if their performance is not good. But they still get the base pay rise. This is the preferred option. However, Water NSW has not agreed to this.

Under its proposal, Incremental Progression will now be a lot more complicated. Each grade or band will have four ‘zones’ which are salary ranges based on a percentage below or above the midpoint. These percentages are not being provided.

Employees won’t know what their salary will be within that zone, and progression to the next zone could be anywhere within that zone’s range.

For employees in the bands at the upper levels and not on the first seven grades, incremental progress is the same but can be progressed quicker if the manager decides there is excellent performance.

The translation to the proposed classification system is also problematic.

155 employees will receive 0 per cent pay rise for 2018 & 2019

141 employees will receive 1 per cent pay rise for 2018 & 2019

151 employees will be within Zones 3 or 4, but we don’t know how many within grades or within bands. 266 employees will be within Zones 2 or 1, but we don’t know now many within grades or within bands.

For employees in Grades 1 to 7

Zone Base Pay Rise Under Good Performance Good Performance # employees
Zone 4 2% <- pay rise reduced to 0% No increment Somewhere between 0-151
Zone 3 2% <- pay rise reduced to 0% 0.5% increment
Zone 2 2% <- pay rise reduced to 0% 1.3% increment Somewhere between 0-266
Zone 1 2% <- pay rise reduced to 0% 2.2% increment

Water NSW is proposing a slightly different Incremental Progression for those in the top three bands. For new employees or those ‘developing’ employees, whatever that means, their increment reduces the base pay rise to below two per cent or a lower increment. For employees meeting good performance, the increment is the same as those in Grades. For employees in bands who have ‘Brilliant Performance’ (whatever this means) their increment is higher.

Employees in Bands 1-3 (or A-C)

Zone Base Pay Rise New or ‘developing’ employees Good Performance Brilliant Performance # employees
Zone 4 2% <- pay rise reduced to only 1.3% No increment Increment of 1.3% in addition to the base pay rise Somewhere between 0-151
Zone 3 2% <- pay rise reduced to only 1.7% 0.5% increment Increment of 2.2% in addition to the base pay rise
Zone 2 2% 0.2% increment 1.3% increment Increment of 2.5% in addition to the base pay rise Somewhere between 0-266
Zone 1 2% 0.7% increment 2.2% increment Increment of 4.9% in addition to the base pay rise

The CPSU NSW claims the proposal as provided by Water NSW is misleading, as it combines both the increment and the base pay rise as a single figure. It also combines the one off bonus payments as part of the ‘overall annual remuneration’ as a flat percentage rate. But this rate will not increase your base salary by that amount.

For the CPSU NSW to get the best outcome for all members, we need a strong membership that works together to defend against proposals that will cut wages in real terms, and result in unfair outcomes across the membership.

To help your union be stronger and more effective, please forward this to your colleagues and talk to them about the offer. Ask your colleagues to JOIN the CPSU NSW –

The term “United we Bargain, Divided we Beg” applies now more than ever.

You can provide feedback and comments to your CPSU NSW Bargaining Team by emailing .

In Solidarity,
CPSU NSW Bargaining Team

  • Tim Budd
  • Andrew Harrison (formerly SWC)
  • Scott Butler
  • Richard Wheatley (formerly DPI)
  • Blake Stephens – Industrial Manager
  • Thane Pearce – Senior Industrial Officer

Please note, CPSU NSW members are also members of the Public Service Association of NSW. The PSA is the Associated Body that resources and manages the CPSU NSW.

FOLLOW the CPSU NSW on Facebook at