Tas Govt's Shocking New Industrial Laws

  • 3 September 2014

THE Tasmanian Crown Employees (Salaries) Bill 2014 (here) was tabled yesterday morning - and it’s nasty.  It will mean the Tasmanian government can: freeze agreed wage increases in all Awards and Agreements regulating employment by the Crown for 12 months from various dates, replace agreed wage increases with yet to be determined increases, amend the Industrial Relations Act 1984 so the Tasmanian Industrial Commission can only make orders in accordance with the government’s wage policy in effect at that time, and make Regulations that can over-ride any part of the Tasmanian Industrial Relations Act 1984 in any manner

Workers knew it would be an outrageous attack but it’s even worse than expected, and we had no idea about the fourth point as it wasn’t even talked about before the Bill was tabled yesterday.  This Bill will break Tasmanian Public Sector employee contracts, leave any future wage increases solely in the hands of their employer and will mean the industrial rules Tasmanian Public Sector employees are all meant to abide by can be changed by the government whenever it likes without anything having to go back to the State Parliament. 

FOR EXAMPLE: The Tasmanian government sets its wage policy through Regulation at -7.5% then makes application to the Commission for an arbitration of wage rates in all public sector Awards and Agreements. The Tasmanian CPSU argues hard as always to defend your wages but the amended Act means the Commission can only agree with the employer – the government - and so must reduce all wage rates by 7.5%.

If the underlying principles of this Bill were applied to criminal law it’d mean that if you were charged with a crime you didn’t commit the independent judiciary could only make a ruling that agrees with the prosecution, so although innocent you’d be found guilty – even a child can see that would be a bad law.    

The Crown Employees (Salaries) Bill 2014 is a bad law.

It’s a stalking horse for other state governments to undermine workers’ rights and slash wages.


Extra information and materials:

Tasmanian Treasurer’s Second Reading Speech to the House of Assembly here.

Clause Notes to the Bill here.

Fact Sheet on the Bill here.


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