Talking union

Wednesday, July 31, 1991

B>ADELAIDE — The SA government has offered about 100,000 state public sector workers a package including a flat $12 wage rise and possible further productivity-linked rises to be negotiated at enterprise level. The offer follows a SA Industrial Commission rejection of an Accord Mark VI deal in a state wage case two weeks ago.

MELBOURNE — Anticipating cuts of up to 1500 jobs from the health service in the coming Victorian budget, health unions are seeking a redundancy and relocation plan that includes housing loans and disturbance payments of $2300. The claim also seeks 4.2 weeks' pay for every week of service, with a minimum payment of 26 weeks. The government is expected to allocate $50 million for staff pay-outs.

PERTH — About 60 angry members of the Civil Service Association protested on July 22 outside a conference being addressed by Labor Premier Carmen Lawrence. The rally was a response to government plans to corporatise a number of government instrumentalities. CSA assistant state secretary Paul Aslan told members that corporatisation inevitably led to privatisation, which would mean inferior services and mass lay-offs. Deputy premier Ian Taylor raised the prospect of privatisation of the SGIC. Lawrence denied the government has any plans to privatise.

SYDNEY — Building unions have accepted a federal Industrial Relations Commission decision to alter their Accord Mark VI agreement with key employer groups. Instead of a flat $12, building workers will now get 2.5% in line with the national wage case decision.

The NSW government is considering on-the-spot fines for breaches of workplace safety regulations. Workers would be fined $50 for violations, and employers $500. The proposal is a response to a backlog of industrial safety cases in the courts.

Metal unions are divided over a proposal to defer the beginning of productivity deals from October 1 until November 1. Under the original plan, metalworkers were to get a $12 or 2.5% rise followed by two productivity-based rises, the first of 2%. Under the new agreement, the delayed rise will now be 2.5%. The right-wing industrial, manufacturing and engineering union (FIMEE) is opposing the change.

BHP steelworkers covered by FIMEE have secured a 7% rise in a productivity deal. The package consists of an automatic rise of 2.5% or $10 in line with the state wage decision, quarterly rises linked to productivity probably adding up to 4.5% over a

year, and superannuation increases of roughly 3% by mid-1993. The deal is subject to approval by the NSW Industrial Tribunal.

The Finance Sector Union is opposing an attempt by the Industrial Relations Commission to split the award for private sector banks into two parts, a base rate and a supplementary payment.

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