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Government Rejects Pay Freeze Offer

ON FRIDAY public sector unions wrote to Premier Hodgman detailing a proposal that would save the jobs of 500 workers and protect services from being slashed. On Saturday morning the Treasurer rejected the plan. Mr. Gutwein told the media that Cabinet would decide this week on where 821 FTE jobs would be cut and indicated he expected most would go before Christmas.

The proposal we put forward made exactly the same savings in the 2014/15 financial year as the government’s Crown Employees (Salaries) Bill would have saved once the amendments offered by the Treasurer were factored in. Our proposal also committed unions to working with the government to find all the savings the Bill would have delivered in the 2015/16 financial year and offered our support for the implementation of a root and branch review of the public sector that would have provided further savings across the forward estimates period. A copy of our letter to the Premier can be found below.

Will Hodgman – Wage Freeze Proposal Letter

Unions are extremely disappointed the government has chosen this path but given it has refused every chance we have provided to talk and find a solution that protects jobs and services. It seems clear this was always its preferred position and probably explains why the Bill was drafted in a way that would be unacceptable to the Legislative Council.

We refuse to give up. In the Tasmanian Industrial Commission today we lodged applications to vary public sector Awards to defer wage increases until 1 July 2015 in exchange for guarantees that jobs will be saved. We will argue our case before the Commission and the government can explain why it prefers cutting jobs to negotiating savings.

We know that cutting 821 FTE will throw many areas of service delivery into chaos. Despite this the government is continuing its fantasy that this level of jobs can be cut without impacting services and will no doubt expect those who remain to work longer and harder to paper over the cracks.

Stress levels are already very high so we must organise ourselves to deal with the changes ahead. Collectively we can make a difference. We can ensure proper consultation occurs and gives the community a chance to let the government know what it feels about the services it is cutting. We must support one another. We need to ensure work practices are safe, that individuals aren’t bullied and that the employment processes set out in Awards, Agreements and other legislation are implemented in a fair and consistent manner. Your union will be standing shoulder to shoulder with you throughout.

Member meetings will be scheduled for the week of 24 November to set out our response to this incompetent government.

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