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Hodgman paid lawyer $1,000 an hour to stop Wage Freeze
The State Government gave at least $62,797.49 of taxpayers’ money to major interstate law firm Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) to stop workers from handing back their agreed wage increases in return for a reduction in job cuts.
HSF charged for just 57.97 billable hours of work, equating to exorbitant fees of $1,083.27 per hour to appear on just 3 days in the Tasmanian Industrial Commission.
The initial hearing before the Full Bench lasted only a couple of hours and the remaining sessions were conducted in private conciliation in which the parties were in separate rooms.
“The proposal put forward by public sector workers last year would have saved 500 jobs by handing back previously agreed wage increases. It would have met every dollar of budget savings the government requested,” Unions Tasmania secretary Steve Walsh said. “The amount given to HSF could have paid for more than 12 elective surgery procedures and is greater than the yearly salary of a new teacher.
“The hourly rate of $1,083.27 is 44 times the $22.78 per hour average rate of pay for an Education Facility Attendant. “The barrister representing Freehills refused to negotiate on behalf of the Government and repeatedly told the Commission they had no instructions from the Government. There is no reason the Government’s own employees couldn’t have done that job.
“That Will Hodgman would be so determined to slap the good will of workers in the face by spending this amount to defeat their genuine offer to save jobs simply proves it was always his intention to cut jobs and frontline services.
“Will Hodgman was always going to break his iron clad pre-election promises not to cut frontline services and not to cut more than 500 jobs. “When it was clear workers were willing to play ball by giving up previously agreed wage increases the Government panicked and hired the most expensive industrial law firm they could find.
“Ultimately it is the Tasmanian people who are suffering from this Government’s lies and broken promises with massive job cuts, hospital beds and clinics closed, class sizes increased and core programs axed,” Mr Walsh said.