Will Hodgman

Premier of Tasmania



6 June 2016

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health

Government Acts on Ambulance Wage Dispute

The Government is keen to resolve the current industrial dispute over negotiations for employees covered by the Ambulance Officers Award.

A letter was this morning sent from the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to HACSU to clarify the Government’s position and propose a constructive way forward.

The letter proposes solutions to issues raised by HACSU, while also clearly reiterating the Government’s two per cent wage policy.

Importantly, the Government has offered to address anomalies in relation to Communications Officers and Managers as an act of good faith.

It is now up to HACSU to do the right thing and cease all industrial action while further negotiations occur.  

I also acknowledge the vast majority of our dedicated staff who have ignored industrial bans and protected the exceptional reputation of paramedics in the community.

A copy of the letter is below:

Mr Tim Jacobson
Secretary
Health & Community Services Union (HACSU)
11 Clare Street
NEW TOWN   TAS   7008.

Dear Tim

I am writing to you to clarify the government’s position regarding the present dispute in relation to Industrial Agreement negotiations for employees covered by the Ambulance Officers Award.  I have been authorised to propose a range of solutions to address the unique set of circumstances that confront management, your organisation and employees within Ambulance Tasmania (AT).

As you know, the Government has a public sector wages policy of up to 2 percent, and it has been made very clear that the Government will not be moving from that.

However, the Government also understands that as a result of the 14 percent work-value uplift for paramedics last year, unique circumstances have arisen whereby a relatively small number of staff were not subject to the HACSU claim and decision, specifically, Communications Officers and Managers (Level 2, 3 and 5). 

I can confirm, as an act of good faith, the Government is prepared to deal separately with these employees and ensure that their salaries and/or conditions address attraction and retention issues within the AT workforce. We suggest this could occur through a revised classification structure and levels for Communications Officers to align with similar roles in other awards and revised levels of skills and provide for and implement revised provisions within the Ambulance Award for Managers

With regards to the broader issue of a new industrial agreement, I reiterate that the Government’s wages policy is up to 2 percent. I do note that there have been various assertions made that some sort agreed position was reached, which would see an uplift of around 5 percent, however my advice is that no such “deal” was ever reached.

The Department is prepared to continue discussions about the new industrial agreement in good faith within the above parameters. My advice is that a number of specific matters have been well advanced in discussions, and subject to your agreement a new Agreement can be struck relatively soon.

Given our intent to progress this matter and resolve it as soon as possible, I would also ask that you discontinue your industrial action while further discussions occur.

I am keen to work with you to finalise the specific details in relation to Communications Officers and Managers and agree on an implementation plan and timeline to affect the solutions indicated above. 

I look forward to your early response.

Yours sincerely

 
  

Michael Pervan
Secretary

6  June 2016



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