BOM Staff Hide Secret Messages In Forecasts
Employees want a pay rise, and are taking over the forecasts with #BOMonSTRIKE messages.
Staff at the Bureau of Meteorology are hiding messages in their weather forecasts as they push for better pay and conditions after a five-year wage freeze.
BOM employees have been locked in negotiations with their employer over a new industrial agreement. The last agreement expired in 2014, and since then, the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) says the Bureau has only offered pay rises with the caveat of a cut in entitlements and other conditions.
Next month will mark five years since Bureau employees had a pay rise, the CPSU claimed, and industrial action from workers has stepped up this week in a very public way.
Messages such as #BOMonSTRIKE and #5yearpayfreeze have been inserted into daily forecasts for Sydney, Canberra, Perth and more on the bureau's website and on social media posts, as well as links to a union petition.
In Sydney on Friday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology's website, the forecast was:
Cloudy. Medium (50%) chance of rain, most likely at night. #BoMonStrike #SupportUs Winds north to northwesterly 15 to 25 km/h becoming light in the late afternoon.
In Canberra, the forecast predicted:
Cloudy. Very high (90%) chance of rain, most likely from the late morning. #BoMonStrike #5yearpayfreeze Winds northwesterly 20 to 30 km/h becoming light in the evening then becoming northwesterly 15 to 20 km/h in the late evening.
On Wednesday, the Bureau's official verified Twitter account for Victoria posted a tweet -- which is still published, as of time of writing -- that read:
Another appeared on the Western Australia account.
ten daily has contacted the Bureau of Meteorology for comment.
Despite the embarrassing posts, however, the CPSU told ten daily that workers would not be able to be disciplined by management, as they are taking action during a protected period of industrial action.
However, the union says management has tried to "gag" employees by imposing additional levels of checking before forecasts are released, in an attempt to stop such messages becoming public -- but as of Friday, messages still appear in forecasts in Sydney and Canberra.
“The public deserve to know why the hardworking employees of the Bureau – the people who bring them vital weather information every day – have been forced to endure a wage freeze for nearly five years, simply because they refuse to sacrifice working conditions,” CPSU Deputy Secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said in a statement.
“Our members do this work because they know it is a valuable community service, but five years without a pay rise while their cost of living continues to climb is hurting them and their families."
She said employees had been "left with no choice but to seek public support" after a breakdown in the negotiation process.
“After four years of negotiations, we have managed to claw back much that was under attack,” she said.
“BoM’s refusal to offer a fair deal to their workforce makes it one of a very small number of Commonwealth agencies that have not been able to successfully negotiate a new enterprise agreement. Rather than sit down and talk about how this increasingly bitter dispute can be resolved, management have instead gone to the extraordinary lengths of attempting to gag employees from taking part in lawful industrial action."
Employee industrial action has not gone unnoticed by those on social media: