Public sector pay talks begin

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 04 Juli 2013 | 19.55

NEGOTIATIONS begin today to decide the pay and conditions for 15,000 of the state's public sector workers for the next three years.

With the State Budget predicting consumer price index increases of 2.5 per cent a year, unions have signalled that their members expect increases of at least that amount to avoid real wages going backwards.

The enterprise bargaining negotiations have the potential to put further pressure on Tasmania's already tight finances.

An overwhelming majority of union members employed in the public sector have endorsed a log of claims that will form the basis of negotiations.

Community and Public Sector Union general secretary Tom Lynch today said the two per cent wage increases of recent years could not continue forever.

"Members have acknowledged the difficult financial circumstances Tasmania has been through by exercising wage restraint over the past two years," he said.

Health and Community Services Union assistant secretary Tim Jacobson said unions would work with the Government to try to achieve a satisfactory result without blowing the budget.

"In the claim they are saying that wages can't continue to fall in real terms but are also putting forward the measures that will make the savings needed to deliver decent wage outcomes," he said.

Premier Lara Giddings said the Government would negotiate with the seven unions involved in the process in good faith.

"The State Government is committed to working constructively with the CPSU to progress the broad range of issues contained within the log of claims," she said.

Ms Giddings has promised a memorandum of understanding to enshrine shared values and principles to guide the development of a modern and productive public service

"A number of these issues are also relevant to the separate discussions we will be having with public sector unions to progress the memorandum of understanding I outlined at the Labor State Conference at the weekend.

"It is my intention to sign a MoU before the next election that enshrines a shared set of values and principles to underpin a modern adaptive workforce and the delivery of high quality services."

Negotiations over the public sector agreement are expected to take up to three months.

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