Workers in the dark on details of wage freeze

THE State Government refuses to say how it will enact its sudden pay rise freeze for thousands of public servants or clarify who will be affected.

Teachers and nurses are among frontline workers who already have certified agreements in place with the Government.

It is understood the Government could negotiate in good faith with affected unions who would then take the decision to members for a ballot.

Alternatively it could introduce emergency legislation that would effectively freeze the wage increases.

But the Government last night would not say how the contentious freeze would roll out.

Meanwhile, pay rises for more than 40,000 workers fighting coronavirus at the coal face, such as hospital cleaners, social workers and physios, will be put on hold because their EBAs have not been formalised.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday said she did not have concerns that frontline staff would not be getting a pay increase.

"No I don't, because I made it very clear that they are frozen," she said.

Annastacia Palaszczuk
Annastacia Palaszczuk

"But let me also make it very clear, that the state is going to have to find a lot of money to pay for workers that will be working double shifts into the future, so every single dollar counts here.

"This is going to run for months.

"You only have to look at what's happening overseas, so I need to make sure that every single dollar counts."

The warning comes after Ms Palaszczuk's sudden announcement last week that pay rises for all public servants, including MPs, would be put on hold in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision has been slammed by unions, including Ms Palaszczuk's own union, the AWU, which yesterday claimed frontline health care workers were angry and upset.

AWU Queensland branch secretary Steve Baker said the announcement had been met with disbelief and anguish.

"These are the cleaners, ward-persons, kitchen hands, laundry staff, and other frontline workers who right now are working around the clock to keep the community safe," he said.

"If she (Ms Palaszczuk) fails to act immediately, she'll be making it very clear to frontline health workers currently risking everything to keep us all safe, that she just doesn't care or value them."

Together Union secretary Alex Scott said the union was seeking urgent clarification.

"These frontline workers haven't had a pay rise since 2018," he said.

Originally published as Workers in the dark on details of wage freeze

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