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Another day, Another Lie – Government will use forced redundancies

ACCORDING to documents posted on the State Service Management Office (SSMO) website last week the government intends to use forced redundancies as part of its plan to significantly cut the public sector.

In a section entitled ‘At the end of the six months redeployment’ the document indicates that where a surplus employee has not been assigned duties within a six month period their Head of Agency has been delegated the power to terminate the employee’s employment. A forced redundancy payment would be made to the employee based on a formulae determined solely by the employer.

The use of forced redundancies is a significant breach of trust and represents a massive broken promise. Premier Will Hodgman and his Treasurer Peter Gutwein made promises before, during and after the election that public sector cuts would be made without resorting to forced redundancies and their decision to abandon that promise will not be taken lightly by public sector workers or their families.

The CPSU expects the government will try to gloss over this big lie by saying sacking workers after six months on the redeployment list is not a forced redundancy but there are only two types of redundancy – voluntary or forced and if you are offered a voluntary redundancy and reject it and are then made redundant against your will then it is undeniably a forced redundancy.

In addition to promising there would be no forced redundancies Mr Hodgman also promised, in writing, that he would consult with public sector workers and their unions. We were therefore surprised to find the government had revoked existing Employment Directions regarding redeployment and redundancy and rewritten them without any consultation.

The decision to make workers forcibly redundant will escalate the levels of stress across the whole public sector. Over the weekend the Mental Health Council of Tasmania raised concerns about the impact of public sector job losses on the mental health of workers and warned about an increased risk of suicide. It seems the government was aware this decision could have negative effects with Agencies boosting their employee assistance programs and reports that some Agencies had engaged mental health professionals to provide advice.

If Members feel they need support or counselling they should contact their employee assistance program or other support services such a Lifeline on 13 11 14.

The CPSU is still in the process of analysing all the documents on the SSMO website. Once we have a complete picture, detailed advice will be forwarded to Members so you know exactly what to do should your position be declared redundant. We will be considering options such as challenging the processes in the Industrial Commission and will discuss a campaign of industrial action with our colleagues in the other unions.

 

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