Public servants ‘betrayed’ by Premier: Unions

UNIONS have slammed Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk after she blindsided thousands of public servants by announcing they wouldn't be getting their promised payrises on breakfast TV.

Powerful union leaders were last night ropeable over the shock freeze of a 2.5 per cent pay increase and a promised $1250 cash bonus for workers.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

Ms Palaszczuk announced the Government would freeze the pay increases, saying these were "extraordinary times" when private companies were slashing wages or standing down workers.

The powerful ETU slammed the move as a "kneejerk response" to a question on The Today Show and something more akin to the Newman years.

State Secretary Peter Ong said the union had fielded calls all day from concerned members who felt "betrayed and abandoned".

But union heads said they still needed answers following a two-hour meeting with Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace and Treasurer Jackie Trad that followed Ms Palaszczuk's announcement.

A two-line statement from Ms Grace last night did not directly address a raft of questions from The Courier-Mail, including whether MPs would also take a pay freeze.

"These are unprecedented times and the world is changing on a daily basis," she said.

"It is not business as usual and as a result, the Premier has put a hold on everything."

Queensland Minister for Education Grace Grace. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
Queensland Minister for Education Grace Grace. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

Mr Ong said Ms Palaszczuk had "single-handedly thrown out the rule book of negotiations and good faith" that denied workers hard-found pay increases.

Queensland Teachers' Union President Kevin Bates said the unions had not been provided with economic modelling.

"You can't make these changes unilaterally," he said.

"There are binding certified agreements."

State school teachers and principals are about nine months into their new EBA, with a 2.5 per cent increase scheduled to take affect from July 1 this year.

Another was scheduled for July 2021.

"We would need to consult with our members about this," Mr Bates said.

AWU Queensland branch secretary Steve Baker said the Government had made their members working in hospitals "the scapegoat for the COVID-19 response by unilaterally announcing a wage freeze with zero consultation and zero discussion".

Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Michael Clifford said no decisions would be made without speaking to members.

Ms Palaszczuk said these were "extraordinary times, and I think everybody would understand this measure that I have announced today."

Originally published as Public servants 'betrayed' by Premier: Unions