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PSA raises concerns about state sector reform

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31st August 2012 - For Immediate Release

PSA raises concerns about state sector reform directly with the government

The Public Service Association has raised concerns directly with the government over aspects of the State Sector Reform (Public Finance) Bill which it believes threatens the employment rights of state sector workers.

The Bill represents the first substantive change to the State Sector Act since 1988.

The PSA has been working with the States Services Commission on the legislation and some changes have been made but there are still a number of unresolved issues.

“We met with the States Services Minister Jonathan Coleman yesterday as soon as the legislation was tabled in parliament to raise our concerns,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

“There are some positive aspects of the legislation in terms of the way the state sector is managed which will encourage departments to work more closely together and share information. However overall it sends some very worrying signals about how the government intends managing the state sector workforce.”

The Bill will tip the balance in favour of the government in terms of setting the parameters around the collective bargaining process.

“Essentially it gives the government the ability to put constraints on the pay and conditions of state sector employees through an Order of Council which will make it very difficult for unions and employers to negotiate fair agreements.”

The Bill also attacks redundancy provisions by stating that state sector employees will lose their entitlement to redundancy compensation if they get another job in the state sector.

Brenda Pilott says “all this will do is encourage people to take the money and either move to the private sector or come back on a contract basis”.

The government is also using the legislation to promote its privatisation agenda by widening the scope for departments to contract out statutory functions to non-government agencies.

The PSA will continue to work with the States Services Commission to try and resolve some of these issues but will be making a strong submission on behalf of its members when the Bill goes before select committee.


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