The Hodgman regime is clearly setting up the public sector unions to fail in the attempt to formulate an alternative to job cuts, Greens Leader Kim Booth MP said today.
“It is unconscionable of the Liberal government to vote down our motion that they keep open the opportunity for good-faith negotiations with the unions, and instead continue to hide behind ultimatums and a closed-door attitude,” Mr Booth said.
“As the responsible employer for the state’s public sector workers, the Premier has a responsibility to require his Treasurer, Peter Gutwein, to operate in a mature and responsible manner, which is to undertake good-faith negotiations.”
“Instead we are seeing the Treasurer continue to indulge in petty one-upmanship, ultimatums, and shifting the goalposts, clearly setting up the scenario where he can dismiss out of hand any proposal the unions put forward and proceed with his callous slash and burn of jobs.”
“Initially the Treasurer’s edict to the unions was ‘find me an acceptable 12 month wage freeze’, which then became an 18 month wage freeze in his Ministerial statement this week. But at the same time this government is refusing to release any meaningful data or information which would assist in the development of a workable alternative.”
“Voting against our good-faith negotiations motion makes it clear that this Hodgman government is not up to the challenge or providing the necessary leadership or maturity required to work with those who will be affected to find a workable resolution. Tasmania deserves better,” Mr Booth said.
Text of Greens’ motion: voted down by the Liberals.
That this House:
Notes the Hodgman Liberal government has failed to provide a breakdown of each departments’ additional savings task, equivalent of 500 full-time public sector positions, additional to the August budget cuts of 700 jobs;
Recognises that the public sector unions have released estimates of where jobs will be cut in light of the government’s threat to cut an additional 500 jobs in light of the Legislative Council suspending debate on the fundamentally flawed Crown Employees (Salaries) Bill; identifying that these cuts will cost approximately 200 health jobs, 186 education positions, with the remainder spread across different agencies;
Notes that the motion passed by the Legislative Council on the 25th of September this year, suspended debate on the Crown Employees (Salaries) Bill, and called for negotiations to be held between the Hodgman government and the public sector unions to attempt to deliver a wage freeze agreement without requiring legislation;
Welcomes the public sector unions swift and constructive response to this window of opportunity, and further recognises that union membership meetings have been organised for the fortnight concluding on the 24th of October;
Notes disingenuous statements from Liberal Ministers that the unions’ being prepared to negotiate is some kind of “road to Damascus” moment, when in fact it is the government which has refused to detail its departmental savings strategy and refused to negotiate with unions; and
Further, this House calls on the Premier and Treasurer to formally commit to undertaking good-faith negotiations with the public sector unions regarding an alternative wage freeze agreement and savings strategies, upon the conclusion of the unions’ respective membership meetings currently underway.