||Issue No. 323||08 September 2006|
Interview: Australia’s Most Wanted
Industrial: The Fox and the Contractor
Unions: Industrial Wasteland
International: Two Bob's Worth
Economics: National Interest
Environment: The Real Dinosaur
History: Only In Spain?
Review: Clerk Off
Catch a Tube
Libs: Lay Off Our Oppressor
The briefing was called after it was revealed the Liberal leader had pooled the four per cent increase, negotiated by the union, and then distributed among just four of his 14 staff.
PSA industrial organiser Maria Cirillo said she briefed the staff and explained that the annual four per cent wages raises were identified to be shared among all workers.
"The leaders were more concerned about where we got the information then how much they were being paid, although you could see some of the quieter ones doing the sums in their heads and working out that they were getting a raw deal."
"They basically vented at us; we stood our ground and left membership forms for anyone who was interested in joining when the zealots were not in the room."
When questioned by the media on his approach to collective bargaining, Debnam labelled the increase "socialist", raising questions about his general attitude to public sector wages.
NSW Public Service Association general secretary John Cahill says this was never the intention of the union-negotiated wages deal.
"Unions negotiate pay rises to be shared by all workers, the idea of taking that benefit and passing it on to the select few is against everything we stand for," Mr Cahill said.
"This decision is an insult to the Opposition leader's workforce and an insult to the PSA members across the public sector who fought hard for this collective agreement."
The PSA has written to Mr Debnam seeking responses to the following questions.
- Was the right to a four per cent pay rise communicated to his staff?
- Was the question of distribution of the pay rise discussed with your staff prior to your decision to deny them increases?
- What criteria was applied in determining who should benefit from the pay rise?
- And is this the approach he intends spreading across the public sector should you win power in March 2007?
The PSA is also looking at launching legal action to force the Opposition leader to review the salary deal and share the increase equally.
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