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Changes at Forestry Tasmania

YESTERDAY your CPSU and the AWU met with FT management for an update on the Government imposed changes that are currently happening.
Outcomes from this meeting were:
– Despite public commentary from Minister Paul Harriss that unions were running a ‘scare campaign’ on the number of job losses from FT and that the figure would be about 50, FT confirmed that there will be further jobs to go from head office and that those staff will be informed in  the next week or two.

FT estimates this will amount to 10-20 positions.  That brings the total number of likely job losses so far to about  70, which is what the unions have said was likely from the very beginning of this horrendous process.  It seems that if Minister Harriss doesn’t like the truth he calls it a scare campaign.

– The CPSU understands the ‘employer share’ of superannuation cost associated with FT employees on the RBF defined benefits scheme who are being made redundant will be met by FT, and consequently added to the FT debt.  While the total figure is unclear it’s likely to amount to many millions of dollars, an amount that will need to be repaid through the sale of even more of the hardwood plantation estate.

– FT hasn’t conducted a risk analysis on the implications the job losses will have on the organisation’s firefighting capabilities.  FT indicated it was confident that it’d be able to outsource some responsibilities to contractors, including responsibilities for fire operations.

The CPSU is particularly concerns about the impact of job losses at FT on the state’s capacity to fire large forest fires.  We have written to all members of the Legislative Council asking that they initiate an inquiry into our firefighting readiness particularly with the Met Bureau issuing an El Nino warning just last week.

– FT is yet to make a decision on if forced redundancies will occur before June 30 but that it’s looking at this option.  Should FT attempt to make staff forcibly redundant this financial year those staff will miss out on the benefits of the 2.5% wage increase scheduled for 1 July.

– That FT are not 100% sure yet what functions the private sector will take over as the Hodgman Government is still consulting with the private sector.

– The CPSU and AWU raised concerns about situations where staff want to leave the organisation but are being told they won’t have a redundancy accepted and staff who could fill the roles of these people and want to stay with FT are being told they’re  likely to be made redundant.  FT committed to looking at these situations more closely.

– About 20 staff have submitted an expression of interest for a redundancy.

Financial advice

Expressing interest in a voluntary redundancy is a long-term decision and shouldn’t be made without first getting expert advice about both finances and superannuation.

The CPSU strongly encourages all staff who express interest in a redundancy or who’ve been told they might be made redundant to seek independent financial advice.  The CPSU met with an independent financial advice company called FM Financial who’ve put together a special offer for CPSU and AWU FT Members.  The details of the offer are available here: AWU-CPSU Forestry Tasmania special offer flyer

If you choose to take up this offer, use the services of an RBF financial adviser or see another adviser it’s important to seek advice.  The CPSU asked FT to extend the period for expressions of interest to ensure FT staff can get advice before being required to make a decision.

Any questions please contact CPSU Organiser Nick Duncombe at n.duncombe@tas.cpsu.com.au.

 

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