Newman takes axe to public sector jobs

Queensland unions are worried non-permanent "frontline" workers such as nurses will be sacked under the Liberal National governm

June 29 was dubbed "Black Friday" for Queensland public servants as up to 3000 temporary and contract workers faced the sack from the Liberal-National Party government.

Contracts for many staff in "non-frontline" jobs expired and will not be renewed under a job freeze ordered by Premier Campbell Newman, the June 29 Courier-Mail said.

Newman has also appointed a razor gang, following the interim report of the Costello Commission of Audit into state debt, to find more cuts, including jobs of permanent staff.

Alex Scott, secretary of the Together union representing Queensland public servants, told the Courier-Mail “official figures” were that 800 temporary workers would be sacked.

But some departments had not supplied figures, he said, and the first cuts would be the “tip of the iceberg”.

"So we think 2500 to 3000,” Scott said. “It's probably going to be the largest job losses in a single day in Queensland history." More contracts are due to expire in August and September.

The June 30 Courier-Mail reported: “Deputy Labor opposition leader Curtis Pitt said it was 'outrageous' the premier could not put a number on his 'jobs purge'."

"We need to know if frontline workers such as hospital cleaners, orderlies, nurses and others on temporary contracts are staying or going. There are 6600 teachers and 2800 teacher aides on temporary contracts -- are their front-line jobs safe?"

The job cuts mean fewer staff to cover essential public services in the state. This means drastic speed-ups for remaining workers, and a reduction in services. Together and other unions representing the Queensland public sector now face a huge challenge to mobilise their members to campaign against the cutbacks in coming months.

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