Public servant pay rises a case of haves and have nots

 

SOME public servants could see a July 1 pay rise while others miss out, with Deputy Premier Steven Miles unable to rule out winners and losers under the Palaszczuk Government's COVID-19 pay freeze.

As parliament prepares to sit this week, the Palaszczuk Government still hasn't revealed whether it will legislate to put in place its year-long pay freeze from July 1, announced two-and-a-half months ago by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on breakfast TV.

Asked whether the wage freeze would be legislated to cancel out EBAs already in place, Mr Miles said he was sure his Government colleagues would speak to the issue this week.

"The Premier announced that all of our staff would experience a wage freeze," he said.

"I think in context of the whole community experiencing economic pain it's appropriate that is shared amongst those who work for the government.

"They have very secure jobs which we're very pleased to support.

"... How this wage freeze applies though to particularly groups of workers is complicated and it's something we're working through."

Asked whether he could rule out a situation in which some workers would get their 2.5 per cent negotiated pay rise on July 1, and others who had negotiated a pay rise but hadn't yet signed off on their EBA would miss out, he could not.

 

Deputy Premier Steven Miles. Picture David Clark
Deputy Premier Steven Miles. Picture David Clark

 

"I'm not in a position to rule anything in or out at this point," he said.

Police, teachers and nurses have already signed up to EBAs enshrining pay increases.

But other workers including cleaners, administration and orderlies working at public hospitals have not, and last week began strike action to make protest Ms Palaszczuk's plans.

They are part of the Premier's own AWU union, and are planning more action tomorrow.

The lack of clarity over the pay freeze follows a raucous Cabinet meeting last Monday at which ministers argued over whether to push ahead.

Labor-affiliated unions have been heavily pressuring ministers and backbenchers over the surprise announcement ahead of the October 31 election.

It's understood Ms Palaszczuk argued in Cabinet that the Government should proceed with legislation to mandate the freeze after failing to get agreement from unions.

Sources said some ministers, including Treasurer and AWU member Cameron Dick, want the Government to promise to backdate the pay rise, guaranteeing tens of thousands of public servants a five per cent pay hike in 2021.

Originally published as Public servant pay rises a case of haves and have nots


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