Just a quick update following on from last week’s HACSU newsletter where we told members the government was considering a pay freeze for senior public servants. We consider this provocative and worrying statement an indication that the government may walk away from our wage agreements.
Late last week Rebecca White asked the Premier a question in parliament about the possibility of a pay freeze for all public sector workers and he said:
"No decision has been made and there has been no discussion within government concerning either a pay freeze or any other form of savings across the public sector.
"In coming weeks and months, we will need to sit down and look at some very difficult decisions, decisions I admit I do not look forward to but we will need to do that."
The Premier didn’t rule out a pay freeze even though he could have and should have.
Let’s all remember, as current events in Victoria spell out clearly, we haven’t escaped the COVID-19 risk yet and we’ll need to maintain and support our committed workforce for a long time.
Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor said a temporary “pause” should be supported.
We met with the Department of Health leadership last week and told them, in no uncertain terms, that if there were ever a time to stand up for their workforce, it’s now. We said they need to be very clear with Treasury and the Premier that freezing our members’ wages - their workers - at this time would be counter productive and would undermine the already flagging morale across the government health and human services sector.
Premier Gutwein said that at some stage he will need to make difficult decisions. Remember hearing this from (the then Treasurer) Gutwein before? We’re sure everyone does!
We’d put good money on the fact that Treasury has already done the economic modelling on what a public sector pay freeze will do to balance their spreadsheet.
Let’s stay vigilant.