Newman says 20,000 jobs will go as unions campaign for pay rises
Queensland public sector unions are preparing for an all-out battle with the Campbell Newman Liberal National Party (LNP) government over pay and conditions, as several enterprise bargaining agreements come up for re-negotiation.
The state's public servants are outraged after being offered the lowest pay rise yet.
Queensland's 60,000 public service workers have been offered a mere 2.2% pay rise per year and likely no additional funding for promotions over the next three years, the June 19 Courier-Mail said.
The government's offer also removes from the public service award "any provisions impeding managerial prerogative," which Queensland public service union Together said would "abolish consultation in the workforce and silence workers”.
Together state secretary Alex Scott said it was an "outrageous offer" and most workers would be worse off.
The union's 38,000 members will consider taking industrial action after the current agreement expires on July 31.
"The feedback from our members is that they're insulted by this offer," Scott told the Courier-Mail. "It seems to be designed to inflame the public sector and makes a mockery of Campbell Newman's assurances prior to the election, that the public service had nothing to fear from an LNP government."
The government made the offer just days after the Costello Commission of Audit report. Scott said this was intended to "scare workers into accepting."
"Nurses got 3%, teachers have been offered 2.7%, medical officers 2.5% and now public servants 2.2%. They're using the Commission of Audit report to try to bully and intimidate workers."
Newman may slash 20,000 jobs in the public service to reduce state debt and the government has considered a 1.6% cap on wage rises if unions refuse to accept the offers already on the table.
The Courier-Mail also said on June 20 the United Firefighters Union of Queensland had “lodged notice of industrial action from August 1”, after being offered a 2.7% wage rise in return for a proposed buy-out of their allowances and overtime.
The state's senior medical officers are threatening to resign after a new enterprise agreement offer that proposed a 2.5% pay rise conditional on a number of changes in work processes.
The Courier-Mail said: “In addition to putting senior doctors on night shift one week in four, junior doctors joining Queensland Health would face a three-year salary freeze and training must be undertaken in their own time.”
Key union leaders met on June 20 to discuss plans for an industrial campaign to challenge the state government's cuts to jobs, wages and conditions. It is clear, from the experiences of workers battling similar attacks in other Coalition-run states that only militant, sustained industrial action, backed by community campaigns, can defeat the government's offensive against the public sector.