ABC staff have voted overwhelmingly to reject the proposed deferral of a 2 per cent pay rise which was was agreed on in last year’s three-year Enterprise Agreement.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher wrote to ABC MD David Anderson in May asking ABC employees to accept the same six months wage rise pause imposed on the Australian Public Service in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

In an email to staff earlier this month, ABC chair Ita Buttrose said the board had decided to ask staff to vote on whether to accept the deferral, which would have delivered a one-off benefit of $5 million but would not help the broadcaster achieve the annual savings requirement of $41 million by fiscal 2022.

As she pointed out, the ABC Act guarantees the independence of the Corporation and the sole responsibility for setting the pay and conditions for staff rests with the ABC Board.

The Act also requires the board to consider advice on government policy when asked to do so.

Today staff were told in an email they will get the increase in the next pay cycle after the vote was 80 per cent against deferral. “We respect your decision on this matter and appreciate your professionalism throughout this process,” the email said.