Bosswatch: Qld government sacks thousands more
Queensland’s Liberal National Party government axed 2000 state transport jobs and more than 300 QBuild jobs on July 31, in another day of mass sackings in the state.
Premier Campbell Newman boasted that 4400 full-time positions have been cut out of the 6000 jobs lost so far. Up to 20,000 public servants are in the firing line.
The latest cuts amount to 1 in 5 transport workers, with Labor transport spokesperson Jackie Trad warning such cuts would “bring the public transport network in Brisbane and in every region to its knees”.
Trad said the Newman government is telling "2000 Queensland families that they will no longer be able to put food on the table, they will no longer be able to pay the rent or the mortgage".
Secretary of the public sector union Together, Alex Scott, said the cuts “are not just impacting public services, they are also taking a huge toll on thousands upon thousands of families left without income”.
The huge job cuts are reportedly leaving Brisbane's CBD “like a ghost town [with] carparks empty”, the Herald Sun said.
The following day, the Queensland Council of Unions said it had information that director-generals of government departments were being paid "boot bonuses" to sack staff.
The Newman government has also moved to sell three government owned caravan parks. Queensland Shelter's Adrian Pisarski said 300 caravan park residents, many of whom are pensioners and have lived in the parks for years, would be affected. Yet the government sales would fund, at best, 70 new public housing properties.
The government has also cut the funding of the Caravan Residents Association. Its spokesperson Ron Whittington said: "We will just be throwing [caravan residents] out on the street and then picking them back up again at a greater cost."
Up to 1000 teachers rallied at parliament on July 31. Queensland Teachers’ Union president Kevin Bates said teachers would not allow children to become “collateral damage” in the government’s austerity drive. “You come after us, you come after the children of Queensland,” he said. The rally finished with the crowd singing “Solidarity Forever”.
Thirty-four Queensland unions voted unanimously to support a September 12 statewide day of strikes and actions against the government's attacks.
Fire station closures 'risk lives'
Fire Brigade Employees Union (FBEU) state secretary Jim Casey said the NSW government plans for temporary closures of understaffed fire stations will risk lives.
"You can't do much worse than closing fire stations," Casey said of the move, designed to save $70 million. "Houses will burn and people will be hurt. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when."
Smaller stations will close for up to 14 hours when they are understaffed, rather than hiring relief staff as in the past.
The government is blaming "excessive levels of sick leave", yet the FBEU said firefighters do dangerous work, usually in 12-hour shifts, and must be fully fit to do their job.
The FBEU, which recently staged a successful strike against cuts to their workers compensation that included fire engines hosing down the “political stench” of parliament, said it is prepared to take industrial action over the matter.
UTAS asks staff to sack themselves
The University of Tasmania (UTAS) is emailing its staff asking them to “lodge expressions of interest” for voluntary redundancies as part of a “new strategic plan”.
The UTAS moves come after attempts to axe staff at the University of Sydney, Australian National University and Macquarie University have provoked staff and student campaigns against the education cuts.
The National Tertiary Education Union said the redundancy packages offered are unfair and misleading, being 20 weeks short of what is outlined in staff agreements.