ABOUT 80 public servants held a stop-work meeting in Fremantle Thursday as pay talks with the Barnett government ground to a halt.
Identifying themselves as coming from transport, port, child protection, marine licensing, mental health, police support, emergency response and museum departments, the workers rallied on the lawn outside the Shipwrecks museum before marching up High Street.
Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association secretary Toni Walkington told the Herald the union had lowered its 4 per cent pay claim to 3.5 per cent over three years but the government won’t budge from 2.5 per cent.
The government argues its offer is in line with the CPI, but Ms Walkington says that bears little relationship to actual living cost increases: with rising power and water bills, rents and food, Perth’s real CPI is running to at least 2.9 per cent. She says the government also wants to insert clauses into its GA6 workplace agreement to make it easier to privatise services.
Workers have rejected this, fearful of their job security.
Ms Walkington says budget cuts have seen staff making up the shortfall: “In child protection our members are putting their hands in their own pockets, to buy things like presents for kids in the hostels.”
She confirms some child protection staff are taking children to their own homes after work because there’s nowhere else to send them.
“They are quite conflicted because they know it’s not a good thing to be doing.”
by STEVE GRANT