Pressure to grant more frontline workers extra holidays

 

 

THE State Government is facing pressure to grant extra holidays to thousands more frontline workers after it was revealed teachers and police would get additional time off.

Together Union secretary Alex Scott said it was clear various sectors had been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response.

It comes after The Courier-Mail revealed police and teachers would get an extra two weeks and two days off respectively in the wake of the Government's contentious public servant pay rise deferral.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed at a press conference this week that health workers may be next in line for the "pandemic leave" however it's understood that came as a surprise to some unions, although it was considered to be inevitable.

Together Union Queensland Secretary Alex Scott outside One William Street Brisbane. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Together Union Queensland Secretary Alex Scott outside One William Street Brisbane. Picture: Sarah Marshall

Mr Scott said Together welcomed the Government recognising the extraordinary efforts put in by a variety of workers, but wanted clarity around why police and teachers had received different leave lengths.

He said health workers shouldn't receive anything less than two weeks, while transport inspectors would also be among frontline staff who deserved recognition.

"There needs to be some equity and consistency," he said.

The Premier's own union - the AWU - seized on her comments that she would be looking at health workers, with secretary Steve Baker asking for the staff to receive the leave.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tim Mander speaking in parliament. Picture: Tara Croser
Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tim Mander speaking in parliament. Picture: Tara Croser

 

LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander claimed the Government had "ripped up" public servants' agreements and was now offering additional taxpayer-funded paid leave as a "consolation prize".

"We don't oppose the pandemic leave but Labor needs to be more consistent in its approach," he said.

Asked whether all sectors should be granted the extra leave, Mr Mander said nurses, paramedics and firefighters had all helped during the COVID-19 response.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles speaking in parliament. Picture: Tara Croser
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles speaking in parliament. Picture: Tara Croser

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said he would be continuing discussions with unions and health workers about the issue.

"If the LNP were in government, we wouldn't have enough frontline staff to respond to this pandemic," he said.

Queensland Nurses and Midwives' Union secretary Beth Mohle said the union had requested to meet with Mr Miles to talk about how the efforts of health workers would be recognised.

"We hope to meet with him in the near future," she said.

A United Workers Union spokesperson said the union had been working with its health members regarding paid leave requirements and would continue discussions with the Government.

Originally published as Pressure to grant more frontline workers extra holidays


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