The Hodgman Government’s refusal to bargain in good faith with Tasmania’s 29,000 public sector workers has left them no option but to escalate industrial action, the coalition of unions said today.
“Will Hodgman doesn’t seem to understand that if you determine the outcome of bargaining before discussions even begin then you are not bargaining in good faith,” said Tom Lynch, CPSU General Secretary.
“The 29,000 public sector workers who provide so many vital services to Tasmanians, often under extremely trying circumstances, are left feeling totally disrespected and undervalued and have reached the end of their tether,” said Mr. Lynch.
“In 2014 this Hodgman Liberal government savagely cut the public service and many areas have been struggling with excessive workload and under-resourcing ever since. Now Will Hodgman refuses to even offer a salary increase that keeps pace with inflation.”
“Rather than agreeing to negotiate in good faith, the Government in recent days has sent false and misleading emails to its workforce in a bid to frighten them off participating in stop work action.
“People have been left with no choice other than to withdraw their labour and this will cause some disruption, which we regret, but that the State Government must manage.
“Will Hodgman needs to urgently inform Tasmanians what workplaces may close, what services may be disrupted and what contingency plans he will have in place.”
Public sector union members from HACSU, CPSU, ANMF, AEU, UFU and United Voice will be stopping work early on Wednesday 24 October to travel to one of five main rally locations for a 3pm start.
Roz Madsen, AEU Tasmania State Manager, said: “Will Hodgman wants to lead the nation in education, yet he’s happy to relegate our most experienced teachers to lowest paid in the country. Teachers, principals and support staff are reluctantly taking this action but their concerns about pay and workload have been dismissed so they’re left with little choice.”
Jannette Armstrong, United Voice Secretary, said: “United Voice members deserve far more respect and recognition than Will Hodgman and his Treasurer, Peter Gutwein, are giving. The 2% pay offer is frankly insulting after 7 years of austerity. Both our Corrections and Education members are doing far more in increasingly burdened systems to serve the Tasmanian community – they deserve better than what is in effect a pay cut.”
Tim Jacobson, HACSU State Secretary, said: “Tasmanians are under no illusion as to the massive pressure on health and community services. Seven years of belt tightening in the face of growing demand on our system now deserves recognition. It’s public sector workers who have held the system together and it’s now time for the government to recognise its workforce with a decent pay offer.”
Leigh Hills, United Firefighters Union Vice President, said: “UFU members do not accept the Hodgman government’s deplorable stance on public sector wages. Seven years of stagnated wages and limitations restricting the improvement of other conditions of employment fails to recognize the role Firefighters play in our community. UFU member will not stand for an eighth year of what is effectively a pay cut. It’s time the Hodgman government provides a fair go for firies.”
Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary, said: “With a current and projected dire Nursing and Midwifery shortage across the nation by 2030, the Tasmanian Government need to invest in the current workforce to recognise and retain nurses and midwives and offer a competitive wage rise to aid in recruitment both now and into the future.”
The Tasmanian public sector unions who are bargaining for new agreements are taking protected industrial action. They will be attending rallies on Wednesday afternoon and be joined by members of other Tasmanian unions under the banner of the national Change The Rules campaign, which has been holding rallies and actions around the country during the week.
The main Stop Work Rally locations are:
- Hobart, Franklin Square
- Launceston, Ockerby Gardens
- Devonport, 63 Best Street
- Burnie, North West Regional Hospital
- East Coast, Portland Hall St Helens