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PS unions say pay not the key issue

The Mercury, David Killick, July 2, page 2

 

MORE than 12,000 of the state’s public sector workers have signalled that the era of 2 per cent annual pay rises is over.

Unions have lodged their log of claims for the latest round of enterprise bargaining negotiations with the State Government which will cover almost all state employees except teachers, nurses and police.

But Community and Public Sector Union chief Tom Lynch yesterday said pay was not the most important issue in this year’s talks.

Central to the claim was an end to forced redundancies, along with a call for better consultation and communication with the public sector workforce and measures to address bullying and harassment.

After several years of wage restraint and job losses – and the possibility of a change of Government at next year’s election – the seven unions involved in the negotiations were keen to lock in a deal to avert the experience of their colleagues in Queensland, where an incoming Liberal Government had inflicted savage cuts.

Mr Lynch said job security and respect were important issue for public sector workers, who understood that productivity gains would be needed to offset pay increases.

“It’s not sustainable for our members to continue to take real wage cuts when everything they spend their money on – their rates, their power, everything else – keeps going up at a higher rate,” he said.

“We are acknowledging there is a limited amount of money available to deliver services in this state.”

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