Tas Government Announces Wage Freeze

  • 14 July 2014

WITH shameless disrespect for its workforce, Tasmania’s new Liberal Government has announced a pay freeze for public sector workers via a strategic leak to a media outlet and an address to Devonport’s business community.  Public sector workers have already agreed to significant wage restraint over the last two rounds of bargaining but despite legally binding Awards and Agreements covering wages and conditions the government has signaled it’ll break those contracts and refuse to uphold its end of the bargain.  “Today’s announcement is a slap in the face for hard working Tasmanians”, CPSU Acting General Secretary Mat Johnston said today.  “This government has broken faith with its workforce in the most blatant way possible and is breaching employment contracts struck under the employment laws of the state to deprive workers of the meager increases they agreed to last year.  “It still intends to cut 1500 more jobs (FTE) from the public sector and undermine morale and consumer confidence in Tasmania’s largest workforce by cutting real wages at the same time”, Mr Johnston said.  “There’s no indication this announcement means job cuts won’t go ahead. The Government may try to frame this as a jobs-saving exercise but that would be a disingenuous smokescreen to say the least.  “Who on earth will be left to deliver services to Tasmanians?” Mr Johnston asked.  “This approach will demolish morale inside a public service already doing more with less since serious cuts over recent years”, Mr Johnston said.  “The wage increases agreed through Awards and Agreements are already below costs and have seen real wage cuts for tens of thousands.  To now take those away without even a heads up let alone any discussion is shameless and offensive.”  CPSU will seek contact with the Premier and Treasurer as a matter of urgency but, if true to the form displayed so far, we’re not confident they’ll bother to speak with us.  “The only way we can see the government acting on this ill-conceived announcement is to undermine the long established landscape by legislating to amend the Industrial Relations Act”, Mr Johnston said.  “I hope Government members examine their consciences before voting on any Bill that strips away the fundamental structures of bargaining and wage fixing in Tasmania rather than following the party line”, Mr Johnston said.  “It’ll be an indictment on every government MP who supports a Bill like this in the lower house and, if it does pass there, I hope Legislative Councilors see this as the abuse of power it is.”  CPSU will keep Members informed as the situation becomes clearer.  In the meantime please send your comments so we can use them to inform our public position and raise them directly with the Premier and Treasurer – should they deign to speak with us.