Outraged defence personnel have slammed the government over their 1.
5 per cent pay rise, but workers in other federal government agencies may fare worse.
Centrelink and Medicare staff face losing many work conditions for a raise of one per cent, while the Australian Crime Commission has been offered no increase, the Community and Public Sector Union says.
Public servants at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will vote on whether to take industrial action after failing to achieve an acceptable pay offer.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has warned that no one on the Commonwealth payroll can expect big increases.
“We’d all like to pay our serving defence personnel more, but there’s going to have to be very tight pay restraint across the public sector, including with defence personnel,” he told reporters in Sydney.
The Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal approved the pay deal on Monday.
The government says the pay rise wouldn’t affect enlistments as defence personnel received generous salaries and a large number of allowances, as well as subsidised housing and free healthcare.
The Defence Force Welfare Association says the increase is less than the rate of inflation and it will continue to press for a better deal.
“A better pay deal means at least matching the movement of the employee living cost index, not just inflation. It means maintaining the real purchasing power of ADF wages. Anything less represents a pay cut which ADF members should not be expected to accept,” it said on its website.
There was anger in comments on the DFWA Facebook page.
“To short-change them is just grubby,” one said.
“Everything gets cut however politicians receive a 10 per cent increase. What a … joke,” said another.
“Defence families are falling below the poverty line it’s a disgrace,” added a third.
But not everyone was sympathetic.
“Whatta ya complaining about,” said one man, who observed that as a taxi driver, he had no sick or annual leave or health insurance and had to buy his own meals and uniforms.
CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood says public servants are edging toward industrial action as conditions and rights are being stripped from workplaces in exchange for low pay offers.
Workplace agreements for 165,000 public servants expired at the end of June, and negotiations on new agreements are under way in about 70 agencies.