‘Robbed’ public servants to strike over pay freeze

 

FRONTLINE health workers will strike across the state today to protest the State Government's contentious pay rise freeze for public servants.

The Government is yet to determine how it will enact the freeze despite Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk making the shock announcement on breakfast TV more than two months ago.

It comes after the Queensland Teachers' Union last week told members there was no agreement on the freeze and that it seemed clear the Government intended to introduce a Bill for the changes this month.

Australian Workers' Union members including hospital wards staff, cleaners, security officers and kitchen staff will stop work for an hour today across 17 locations.

AWU Queensland Secretary Steve Baker. Picture: Mike Batterham
AWU Queensland Secretary Steve Baker. Picture: Mike Batterham

AWU Queensland secretary Steve Baker told The Courier-Mail frontline workers deserved better than being "robbed of a long-promised wage increase".

"Industrial action is never something we take lightly and we'd never do anything to compromise the COVID-19 response, but AWU members feel like they've been left with no other choice to be heard," he said.

"These are the wardies, cleaners, security officers, kitchen staff and other invaluable frontline workers who have been getting us through this - punishing them like this doesn't pass the pub test.

"We know these are extraordinary times and this isn't business as usual, but ripping up deals with frontline workers in the middle of a pandemic just isn't on."

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace refused to comment yesterday on whether the Government would legislate the freeze, which would need to happen during this month's parliament sitting week if it was to be enacted by July 1.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace. Picture: Steve Pohlner
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace. Picture: Steve Pohlner

QTU president Kevin Bates said the union didn't have a "clear pathway" forward.

"Our members' expectation is that the legally binding agreement will be implemented and that means there will be a pay rise on the first of July," he said.

"To date, what I've been briefed on is they're (union) still waiting on a formal position."

Originally published as 'Robbed' public servants to strike over pay freeze


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