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Gutwein chooses job cuts
THE outcome of yesterday’s hearing before the Tasmanian Industrial Commission can leave Tasmanians in no doubt – the Hodgman government has always been intent on cutting public sector jobs and talk of freezing wages was just a smoke screen designed to avoid accepting blame for this broken promise.
Following lengthy negotiations, which TIC President Tim Abey conducted as part of a private conciliation process, the Full Bench made a formal recommendation to unions and the government aimed at resolving the issues around job cuts and wages. The recommendation is that the parties consent to a 12 month wage freeze and in return the government undertakes to minimize to the extent possible job losses with 700 FTE over the forward estimates being an indicative target.
The full bench recommendation stressed the importance of resolving this issue without the loss of jobs. In its recommendation it said ‘We are hard pressed to identify any matter in the last decade which has so profoundly brought into issue these public interest considerations.’ The recommendation concluded by saying ‘We urge the parties to seriously consider these recommendations and return some certainty to the budget integrity and preserve as many jobs as possible.’ A full version of the recommendation can be found below.
Despite the TIC urgings, in little more than one hour after the recommendation was made the Treasurer rejected it.
In a media statement Treasurer Gutwein admitted he hadn’t yet received modelling on the wage freeze the TIC recommended. He also showed he didn’t understand the proposal being put forward, claiming it was just ‘a 12 month freeze with increments kept in as normal’. Rejecting the proposal without first seeking clarification so he understood it or having it costed shows the government’s true intent was always to slash 821 FTE jobs this financial year and more than 1200 FTE jobs over their first term of government.
Unions will not relent in our efforts to protect the jobs of public sector workers and the vital services Tasmanians rely upon. The contempt the government has shown for the industrial umpire is a reflection on it and the way it does business. We will consider all our options and report back to Members soon.