Public sector union requests payment for firefighting members, Fair Work boss brought in to negotiate

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday January 24, 2020

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Former Fair Work Commission deputy president Greg Smith has been engaged to facilitate pay negotiations between the union representing Victoria’s public servants and the state government.

The Community and Public Sector Union has continued pushing for a pay increase above 2% while the Enterprise Agreements of roughly 50,000 public servants and government workers has expired.

In a recent email to union members, CPSU Victoria Secretary Karen Batt said the union had triggered a clause in its agreement which would “assist with getting government negotiators more focussed on the job of reaching agreement with us following their settlement with the Police Association just prior to Christmas”.

She said the first facilitated negotiations had commenced and would run every Tuesday and Thursday for at least the next month, or until an agreement in principle has been achieved. She has encouraged members to arrange meetings at work on EBA negotiations and for Nexus agency bargaining preparations.

The state government said in November that its pay rise offer would stay at 2%, despite its MPs receiving a 3.5% base pay rise from September, after they had already received a 2.92% increase in July. Premier Daniel Andrews received an 11.8% salary increase, making him the highest paid state leader in the country with a $441,000 pay packet.

The CPSU has also requested a good faith payment be made to members as “many are involved fighting bushfires and or assisting communities affected including our precious fauna”.

“The government hasn’t replied to this reasonable request yet,” she added.

More than 3500 state public servants have been helping fight fires and assisting with rescue and recovery efforts. Three have died during the bushfires.

The union recently established a special hardship provision for members who have been financially affected by the bushfires, with up to 3 months suspension of membership fees.

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