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BREAKING: Wage Freeze Bill breaches International Conventions

TASMANIAN public sector unions have received advice that the Crown Employees (Salaries) Bill 2014 breaches Australia’s international obligations as set out in convention 87, the Freedom of Association Convention, of the International Labour Organisation

The Bill, as it is currently drafted, takes away freely bargained salary increases and places a statutory limit of two percent on future wage rises.  Further it allows the Treasurer of the day to make regulations that restrict the performance and exercise of the functions and powers of the Tasmanian Industrial Commission in regard to any matter.  Effectively undermining the independence of the industrial umpire and giving the employer complete control of all industrial matters.

This amounts to an unlawful restriction on the freedom of association rights of Tasmanian public sector workers because Article 3 of the Convention requires that Governments ‘refrain from any interference that would restrict or impede the lawful exercise’ of rights of association

The right to bargain freely constitutes an essential element in freedom of association. The removal of freely bargained wage outcomes and capping bargaining outcomes takes away this fundamental freedom guaranteed by international law.

Today the Federal Secretary of the Community & Public Sector Union, Karen Batt, has met with the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation and formally advised him of the intention of unions to lodge a formal complaint against the legislation should it successfully pass both Houses of Parliament.

Read Karen Batt’s letter below.

Guy Ryder ILO KB 12 Sept 2014

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