Parks staff told to take basic pay rise

The below-inflation offer made to Parks Victoria staff contrasts with the generous pay deal won by police. Photo: Pat ScalaPARKS Victoria staff have been warned to accept a basic 2.5 per cent annual pay deal that bypasses the union or risk getting nothing until well into next year.

The below-inflation offer, made in an internal email to staff, contrasts with the generous pay deal won by the state’s police that provides a pay increase of almost 19 per cent by mid-2015, or an average 4.7 per cent a year.

It comes as Premier Ted Baillieu warned the public sector ahead of industrial action set to begin on Friday that his government would not tolerate any damage to the state economy from such action.

”Where there is a threat to the economy or a very large part of the economy, then we are not going to sit around and do nothing,” Mr Baillieu said.

The Parks Victoria email, sent by resources manager Greg Mead, reveals that the government is refusing to offer more than 2.5 per cent because the organisation has been unable to find any ”bankable efficiency savings” required for a bigger increase.

”The likelihood of an agreement being reached with the unions is remote,” the email says.

”This is causing both Parks Victoria and many employees real concerns as there is a real possibility that we could go through [the] whole year and well into next year without any pay increase for staff.”

The government has vowed to reject any pay increase for public sector workers of more than 2.5 per cent unless the extra amount is offset by ”bankable savings”. But on its offer to police, the government has refused to discuss the funding details or the impact on the budget.

The Parks Victoria email also indicates the government may try to bypass the union process because the negotiation ”has reached a stalemate”.

The Community and Public Sector Union is set to begin an industrial campaign involving 63 separate forms of action designed to frustrate the government’s ability to function.

Almost 6000 public sector workers voted in favour of the action.

The email also reveals that the government has ended performance pay for Parks Victoria staff at the top of their grades, despite executives being paid an average $12,000 each in bonuses last financial year.

CPSU state secretary Karen Batt said it was hypocritical that the people responsible for the organisation’s financial predicament had been paid large bonuses while asking staff to make do with an effective pay cut.

”Let’s keep in mind that these are the people who, more than anyone else, must bear responsibility for Parks Victoria’s financial predicament,” Ms Batt said.

Opposition industrial relations spokesman Tim Pallas said the government was clearly trying to subvert the collective bargaining process by dealing directly with staff.

”It doesn’t augur well for a government that has said they intend to go through a bona fide negotiating process with unions,” Mr Pallas said.

”At the first sign of trouble they convert to type and try to undermine workers’ rights to bargain collectively.”

A spokesman for the government, Simon Troeth, said it would not comment on individual aspects of the negotiations.

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