ATO vote spawns satirical Christmas carols



If Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was hoping to take refuge in the traditional Christmas rallying cry of “Peace on Earth, goodwill to all men” he will be sorely disappointed by the recent rash of Christmas carol parodies reflecting the drawn out public sector bargaining dispute on the Community and Public Sector Union’s (CPSU) website.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) vote closes today (Wednesday) and the Union is encouraging its members to reject the offer, with a satirical interpretation of Santa Claus is Coming to Town, complete with video to ram the message home. You can view it here.

The rewritten jaunty Christmas favourite goes like this:

“You’d better vote no, you’d better not cry, you’d better join up we’re telling you why. Savage cuts are coming to town.

“They’ve made a big list, they’re rorting you twice. You need to find out it’s naughty not nice. Savage cuts are coming to town.”

The ATO spokesperson said this morning that 75 per cent of those staff eligible to vote had cast their verdict so far, with the result due on Friday. It’s the agency’s first vote on its enterprise agreement, which expired in June last year, after abandoning a vote of its 21,000 staff in March to avoid a comprehensive defeat after strong internal opposition to the deal became apparent.

The deal on the table is 6 per cent over three years, frontloaded with 3 per cent at the start and 1.5 per cent for each of the two years after.

The CPSU maintains that the deal is still a pay cut in real terms and includes cuts to rights and conditions.

A particularly controversial aspect of the offer is the plan to add nine minutes to the working day, taking weekly hours from 36.75 hours to 37.5 hours, which translates into around an extra five days a year. The Department has argued that this would bring the ATO into line with the rest of the Australian Public Service.

Other sticking points identified by the Union include: lack of staff consultation or control over rosters; loss of protection for part-time workers not to have their agreed hours changed more than once a year; cuts or removal of allowances such as Health and Wellbeing allowance, remote locality allowances and study leave; and parts of the enterprise agreement shifted to policy and open to cutting later on.

The Australian Public Sector dispute has hatched other lyrical reworking’s of popular Christmas tunes too.

The CPSU’s version of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” begins:

“O come all ye workers, joyless and disheartened. O come ye, o come ye to bargaining. Come and behold it, born of cuts and nastiness. Oh come let us abhor it [times three]. The answer is no.”

The chorus of Jingle Bells gets a modern, workplace relations twist too.

“Jingle bells, this deal smells. Rotten all the way. Oh what tricks they try to hide In a brand new EBA … hey.”

You can find the CPSU Christmas carol song sheet here.

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