Dissent spreads in striking sector
Tasmania’s public sector industrial dispute looks to be worsening.
Negotiations over a new wage and conditions deal have stalled for about five months, and unions say they will ramp up industrial action until the State Government scraps its 2 per cent wage cap.
The Government says the unions are “drunk on conflict” and “threatening the safety of all Tasmanians”.
Treasurer Peter Gutwein focused on actions involving not calibrating police breathalysers.
Members of Forensic Science Services Tasmania are withholding the calibration of 10 per cent of police breathalysers, as well as preventing the release of routine reports on test results for minor crimes.
“That they would now interfere with motorists' safety by calling on their members to stop doing breathalysers … that's just putting other motorists at risk,” he said.
“This is a full frontal attack by a hard core of unionists on the Tasmanian public and it simply has to stop.”
The CPSU pointed out that police can still access 90 per cent of calibrated breathalysers at any time.
Unions members at some public pathology centres are diverting calls to the Health Minister's office for two hours a day, not processing Medicare claim forms, as well as other actions.
Elective surgery will be banned at the Mersey hospital on November 9 and December 14.
Some nurses are reducing overtime, while others are holding weekly vigils outside the emergency department at the Royal Hobart Hospital.
In the education sector, overtime has been banned, and teachers are refusing to write comments in school reports or respond to emails outside of work hours.
TAFE teachers have stopped carrying work-issued mobile phones, and refusing to work above the mandated weekly teaching load.
In other areas, library staff are not charging for photocopying or printing, Worksafe Tasmania staff have stopped issuing infringement and improvement notices, and DPIPWE staff are not answering phones between midday and 2pm.
Ministers' officers have stopped replying to some request, and child safety officers are claiming missed meal breaks.
Firefighters are refusing to meet with their senior hierarchy.
CPSU state secretary Tom Lynch said industrial action will escalate.
“We can't bargain until the cap is removed, because the cap stops us from being able to negotiate an outcome,” he told the ABC.
“Our members work for the Tasmanian community every day, they are very careful about what they do, the care and protection of the community is this number one thing.
“Yes they are destined to be disruptive, they are designed to upset ministers and clearly they are having that impact.
“If we don't see a response form the Government then I guess we will have to continue to escalate until they take public sector workers seriously.”
Premier Will Hodgman says the Government will not budge on the wage cap.