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Premier's kneejerk comment leaves workers feeling abandoned

Frontline essential workers feel betrayed by Labor Government


Unions are calling for State Government to provide more information regarding the Premier’s kneejerk response to a media question this morning which without warning put hard-won state wage outcomes on hold.

ETU State Secretary Peter Ong said the Premier’s off the cuff remark about state wage increases was a massive own goal and the “last thing the state needs right now”.

“Many of our members have seen their family income halved through their partner becoming unemployed with some also seeing their kids moving back home due to their severe loss of incomes. With many falling through the social security safety net they were relying on these pay increases to keep them afloat.” He said.

“We have been fielding calls all day from concerned members who feel betrayed and abandoned, we will be holding meetings tomorrow to discuss the way forward while we continue to demand further information from the government about the background to the decision and how we can navigate a fairer outcome.”

“As it stands the Premier has single-handedly thrown out the rule book of negotiations and good faith, by making decisions on the run without consultation, this decision if implemented as stated, will deny frontline workers their rightful remuneration increases, which have been negotiated in good faith with some taking years to achieve.” “In something more akin to the Newman years, it seems the Labor State Government has thrown hardworking frontline essential workers to the wolves at the very time we need them the most.”

“In one breath they talk about what a great job our frontline public services workers are doing then in the next denying them wage increases that have been earned through productivity gains and improvements, some of these workers have not had pay rises for 2 years.”

Across the ETU’s areas of coverage there are real concerns for the frontline workers who provide essential safety and maintenance to our electricity networks, our rail and public transport networks, and our vital health system.

“These are the public sector workers who make sure ventilators and vital hospital equipment are safe, they ensure our rail and road networks are safe for commuters and our communities and of course without power industry workers there would be no working from home, no Netflix, no air conditioners and many other things our community often takes for granted.”

Ong said the outrageous decision would be vigorously challenged at every level and warned, “workers risking their lives to keep fellow Queenslanders safe deserve far better from a Premier who seems to have gone weak at knees when attacked by a rabid right-wing media pack, cheered on by a former Premier who sacked more than 12,000 Public service workers. They need safe, secure leadership that work with them not against them, the rights of workers should never be the first casualty especially at a time when many of these working families are suffering as well.”

“We believe we can find a way to work with the Premier and Treasurer to help bolster the economy, but suppressing wages is not the way. We call on the Premier to sit down with us and other unions to properly consult about the options available, it is the right thing to do”

For more information please call Peter Ong 0419 721 046, Andrew Irvine 0448 633 858