Wage deal still won't wash with unions
There are signs of change on proposals which have caused indignation across Tasmania.
The Tasmanian Government has indicated it might be willing to bend on a threatened public sector wage freeze, and has amended its anti-protests laws to appease public outage.
The Government had put forth legislation to impose mandatory fines and jail terms for protestors who repeatedly trespassed on workplaces.
The proposed laws have been slammed by Tasmania's Opposition, civil liberties advocates, environmental activists, lawyers and unions.
Now, Tasmanian Resources Minister Paul Harriss says amendments have been added to protect the rights of people in “regular” protests.
But Tasmanian Opposition leader Bryan Green said the Resources Minister should resign over the perceived backflip.
“We've got a situation where his own incompetence means that he's got to amend his own bill,” Mr Green told reporters.
Meanwhile, Tasmanian Treasurer Peter Gutwein has responded to repeated grilling from MLCs over a plan to give himself new power to regulate wages.
The change was part of a public sector wage freeze bill mean to save some money by freezing wages for 12 months after the next scheduled pay rise, halting salary increments as well; moving to a default increase of 2 per cent at end of the freeze; and enabling the Treasurer to regulate wages and the 2 per cent cap.
Tasmanian Industrial Commission president Tim Abey says it would leave the body with almost nothing to do.
Treasurer Peter Gutwein has indicated he may be open to the addition of a clause to address the concerns, amid claims that he was trying to cut unions out of public sector negotiations.
“We will not bring in regulations that are going to decrease below the policy intent of the bill, and that is 2 per cent,” he said.
Community and Public Sector Union spokesperson Tom Lynch was not convinced.
“The Government wants the Legislative Council to accept a bill that's going to rely on some verbal commitments from the Treasurer at a briefing,” he told the ABC.
“We're saying, if you're giving those verbal commitments, if you're saying the only way you will use that regulation is to increase above the 2 per cent cap, put it in the bill.
“Why isn't it in the bill?”
The public sector unions say they will present the Government's plan to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), to see if it breaches international legal conventions.