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Public Sector Wages Agreement: More revealed on wages policy and cuts to services, staff unnecessary

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.

Next minute … 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’. 

Bargaining Reference Groups

Get involved in bargaining for your Agreement – we are still looking for more active Members to join one of our Bargaining Reference Groups.  BRG Members will help prepare our response to the government’s position on the Public Sector Unions Wages Agreement. Now more than ever we need to protect your conditions that the Hodgman Government is threatening to axe.   Meetings will run for about one hour.  Bargaining Reference Groups are meeting in:

Hobart: Tuesday August 23, 12.30pm, CPSU Office 

Launceston: Tuesday August 30, 12.30pm, Henty House

Burnie: Tuesday September 6, 12.30pm, venue TBA (depending on numbers).

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