Industrial relations landscape

This document outlines the Government’s policy on a number of important public sector industrial relations matters.

Victoria’s public sector provides services that are essential to the community. As the State’s largest employer, the Government will set the example for all Victorians by recognising, valuing and regarding the work of the Victorian public sector agencies.

The Government is committed to public sector industrial relations based on consultation, cooperation and good faith bargaining, underpinned by a safety net of fair employment conditions. The Government, as model employer, is committed to ensuring that enterprise agreements are negotiated respectfully, in good faith, and conducted in a timely manner.

The Government also considers it important that an equitable and consistent approach to public sector industrial relations is adopted by departments and agencies.

This document outlines the Government’s policy on a number of important public sector industrial relations matters. This includes various standards, requirements and guidelines to foster a productive industrial relations culture and achieve high performance with effective and constructive workplace partnerships.

Key principles

The key principles underpinning the Government’s approach to industrial relations are as follows:

  • promoting industrial relations based on consultation and cooperation between employers, employees and their unions
  • promoting the public service and public sector agencies as model employers
  • respecting employee’s choice to join a union and be properly represented in the workplace
  • supporting the provisions of modern awards as the effective safety net for all public sector employees
  • promoting collective bargaining with employees and their bargaining representatives rather than individual bargaining
  • setting of wages and conditions through comprehensive agreements that are fiscally sustainable and promote the highest quality services to Victorians and deliver improvements that are measurable
  • promoting secure employment especially by limiting casual and labour hire employment
  • supporting fair, cooperative and safe workplaces throughout the public sector that are free from discrimination
  • honouring all terms collectively bargained for within formal agreements and not using technical constitutional arguments to avoid these agreed obligations
  • providing fair and comprehensive employment conditions in awards and agreements
  • supporting policies and working conditions which enable employees to balance work and life
  • protecting employees from all forms of workplace bullying
  • supporting policies that promote gender equity in the workplace and employment opportunities for women
  • supporting employment opportunities for underrepresented groups across the public sector and in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

While individual departments and agencies have flexibility in deciding the specific content of enterprise agreements, it is their responsibility to ensure these key principles underpin their industrial relations strategies and actions.

Application of the Policies

These policies apply to all departments and public sector bodies of the State of Victoria and their non-executive level employees, as defined under the Public Administration Act 2004 (Vic) (PA Act) and other Victorian legislation. For the avoidance of doubt, the Policies apply to all public health services, schools and standalone TAFE institutes. For the purposes of the Policies, the term “agency” is used to refer to all those public sector bodies of the State of Victoria other than a department.

The Policies do not apply to:

  • the employment of executive employees employed under contracts administered by the Government Sector Executive Remuneration Panel or under the Victorian Public Service executive contracts
  • universities, including the four dual sector universities (RMIT, Swinburne University, Victoria University and Federation University Australia)