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An Impossible Ask

Government Pressures Agencies to Breach Award Provisions on Consultation – Unions Seek Redress Through Industrial Commission

The government is asking impossible things of Agencies and their senior staff when it comes to implementing their misguided slash-and-burn agenda in the State Service.

Your CPSU has received numerous reports from high ranking staff and officers across many government departments that explain the government is actively pressuring agencies to ignore or circumvent their consultation obligations with their staff and unions.

“Effectively the government, led by the Treasurer and Premier, are requiring the impossible from their Departments”, CPSU Assistant Secretary Mat Johnston said.

“All government departments have legal obligations around consultation with workers and their unions arising from Awards”, Mr Johnston explained. “The level of change and cuts the government is demanding means departments are unable to adhere to their responsibilities to staff and unions.

The pressure from government amounts to conscious and systematic breaches and pending breaches of the various Awards.”

Public sector unions led by the CPSU have responded by lodging a dispute application with the Tasmanian Industrial Commission (TIC) to seek assistance in enforcing the Award provisions.

“While the action in the industrial commission is essentially about enforcement of legally binding instruments, what’s really at stake is the viability of services and the physical, financial and emotional wellbeing of workers”, Mr Johnston said. “We know that when workers and their unions are genuinely consulted better decisions are made and that leads to improved productivity and service delivery. What we also know is that when workers are sidelined from decision making they are more likely to disengage and feel devalued at work which can only drive negative outcomes.

“It is clear the government doesn’t care about their workforce and considers them unable to positively contribute to a conversation about reform, restructures and productivity.“This is the polar opposite of the view of the CPSU.”

The dispute will be listed before the TIC in the coming weeks and we will keep Members informed. We are hopeful the commission requires the government to adhere to their legal responsibilities to consult workers and their unions.


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