Tas Gov't Rejects Pay Freeze Offer
ON FRIDAY public sector unions wrote to Premier Hodgman detailing a proposal that would save the jobs of 500 workers and protect services from being slashed. On Saturday morning the Treasurer rejected the plan. Mr Gutwein told the media that Cabinet would decide this week on where 821 FTE jobs would be cut and indicated he expected most would go before Christmas.
The proposal public sector unions put forward made exactly the same savings in the 2014/15 financial year as the government’s Crown Employees (Salaries) Bill would have saved once the amendments offered by the Treasurer were factored in. Our proposal also committed unions to working with the government to find all the savings the Bill would have delivered in the 2015/16 financial year and offered our support for the implementation of a root and branch review of the public sector that would have provided further savings across the forward estimates period.
Unions are extremely disappointed the government has chosen this path but given it has refused every chance we have provided to talk and find a solution that protects jobs and services. It seems clear this was always its preferred position and probably explains why the Bill was drafted in a way that would be unacceptable to the Legislative Council.
We refuse to give up. In the Tasmanian Industrial Commission today we lodged applications to vary public sector Awards to defer wage increases until 1 July 2015 in exchange for guarantees that jobs will be saved. We will argue our case before the Commission and the government can explain why it prefers cutting jobs to negotiating savings.
We know that cutting 821 FTE will throw many areas of service delivery into chaos. Despite this the government is continuing its fantasy that this level of jobs can be cut without impacting services and will no doubt expect those who remain to work longer and harder to paper over the cracks.