Friday Wrap: Our week in review
YOUR union team met with State Government representatives for the first time last week. This is the first major bargaining for the Premier Will Hodgman’s Government and it’s fair to say his approach is ‘different’ – in fact we’ve never heard about this kind of ‘bargaining’ anywhere.
What we discovered about the wages policy:
• Wage increases are only ‘up to 2%’ BUT this now seems to include everything – it’s a behemoth of a policy (even though we still haven’t seen hide nor hair of it).
• This ‘up to 2%’will also include additional conditions – increasing paid maternity and paternity leave family violence leave, upping employer contributions to superannuation … that’s right, it all has to fit neatly in that ‘up to 2% increase’ BUT
• Backdating, it seems is not included. Yes, even though the recent paramedics agreement was granted backdating through the same wages policy. So it seems like this policy is a bit of a shape shifter too.
• Will Hodgman wants to strip out ‘non-industrial matters’ from your Agreement. Examples given at the meeting, which are apparently not industrial were: superannuation, leadership training, staffing formulas and workload formulas … and this wasn’t exhaustive either. So basically the Hodgman Government wants to take away the conditions that are there to make your life better.
So the wage increases on offer are not ‘up to 2%’, they’re actually much less if you want action on career progression, high workloads, or improving conditions like parental leave, family violence leave and bereavement leave to bring these in line with the minimum standards nationally across Australia and in the private sector. The wages policy was not to be seen either, and considering it’s now so huge maybe they had trouble heaving it into the meeting room. We’d still really like to take a look at this policy, which gets more fascinating the more we hear about it. This is an approach that is unheard of. But it doesn’t stop there …
This week we hear there’s no longer a $58 million budget deficit for the 2015-16 financial year instead there’s a surprise surplus of $62.7 million. An unexpected turnaround since May of over $120 million.
So it turns out all the job losses, all the WRIPs and redundancies, all the go-slows on recruitment and the failure to fill vacancies were unnecessary.
But what’s even worse is that there was no reason to deny Tasmanians access to health services, no reason to cut corners in our children’s education, no reason to wind back services in Parks, TasTAFE, Biosecurity, Community Corrections or anywhere else.
The Hodgman Government has built a cash surplus on the back of cuts to public services and now they are saying this surplus will allow them to ‘reinvest in health, education and to support vulnerable Tasmanians’.
Meanwhile PS wages falling
RECENT Australian Bureau of Statistics stats show that Tasmanian public sector staff are falling behind.
Tasmanian private sector workers’ wages are the fastest growing in Australia BUT wage growth for public sector workers in our state is the slowest in the nation.
Advocate Reporter Sean Ford said the state government wages squeeze was a likely influence on slow wages growth for Tasmanian public sector workers. We are not surprised.
School Support staff week
Who are school support staff?
They’re Teacher Assistants, School Admin staff, Speech Pathologists, School Social Workers, Education Facilities Attendants, Libraries and Laboratory staff among others.
They should be celebrated because they:
• Keep our schools and classrooms running;
• Support students in the classroom;
• Run school laboratories, libraries and offices;
• Help young people overcome barriers to learning and developing; and
• Support Tasmanian youth to become the best adults they can be.
National Science Week
IT’S ALSO National Science Week, and scientists are one profession that work across our public services providing expert advice to keep our communities safer, helping the sick get back on their feet and protecting our world-renowned environment.
You’ll find them in
• The Forensic Science Service,
• Police, Fire and Emergency Management,
• Biosecurity Tasmania
• Our hospitals
• And in many more corners of the Tasmanian Public Service.
People’s Inquiry: Privatisation
WE’RE seeing politicians at all levels of government privatising our public services. As this happens we’re seeing doubt over access, control, responsibility and transparency of these services that are there to serve the public. That’s why we’re joining the Public Services International and other unions nationally to run an inquiry into privatisation. Launching this week, the People’s Inquiry, chaired by David Hetherington, will travel around the country talking to communities about the impact of privatisation, and the types of public services they need.
We want to hear from you about the impact of privatisation on services in your community, and we want to hear your ideas for how we could change our public services for the better.
Submissions: If you’d like to make a submission or help contribute to our submission in the inquiry, let us know: email firstname.lastname@example.org. You might’ve noticed the effects of privatisation and what it means to the service you help provide to Tasmanians. Maybe you’re noticing privatisation by stealth in your service – when funding goes to the private sector while public services remain struggling and underfunded. We need your stories. Submissions are due on September 2.
The Hobart Public Hearing is on Friday October 14.