The truth about public service pay freeze

 

TENS of thousands of Queensland public servants will pocket pay hikes despite Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's wage freeze decree.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the Government has struck a deal with unions to ensure all 2019-20 pay increases, held up because of "administrative delays" caused by the coronavirus, still end up in the pockets of public servants.

The agreement is at odds with Ms Palaszczuk's repeated public statements about an immediate bureaucracy-wide pay freeze, including a comment on April 12 when she abruptly insisted "it's on hold and that's the end of the story".

The deal to ensure 2019-20 pay hikes will still happen is detailed in a letter written on Friday to the Queensland Council of Unions by Treasurer Jackie Trad and Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace.

A letter to the Queensland Council of Unions from Treasurer Jackie Trad and Education Minister Grace Grace says the pay freeze will be enforced from July 1. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP
A letter to the Queensland Council of Unions from Treasurer Jackie Trad and Education Minister Grace Grace says the pay freeze will be enforced from July 1. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP

In the letter, Ms Trad and Ms Grace said the Government would enforce the pay freeze from July 1 rather than from the date of Ms Palaszczuk's original April 2 decree.

"The Government acknowledges that the COVID-19 crisis has caused administrative delays in the application of 2019 wage adjustments for a specific group of public sector workers, including those working on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19," the ministers said. "Before we implement a temporary change to the application of the wage policy, we need to ensure all public sector workers are on a level playing field.

"This means the administrative application of the delayed 2019 wages policy will be applied before 1 July 2020 to ensure no disadvantage to workers in affected industries."

A Government spokesman defended the decision but refused to say how many workers would be affected.

"The Morrison Government has a six-month freeze," he said. "The Palaszczuk Government will implement a 12-month freeze."

Opposition deputy leader Tim Mander said Ms Palaszczuk had "been caught out lying to Queenslanders about pay rises for public servants in the middle of a pandemic

Originally published as The truth about public service pay freeze



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