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Public servants act on pay

VICTORIA'S public sector union is preparing to launch a tough pay campaign against the Baillieu government amid claims the state's public servants are the worst paid in the nation.

VICTORIA'S public sector union is preparing to launch a tough pay campaign against the Baillieu government amid claims the state's public servants are the worst paid in the nation.

Wage agreements covering 36,000 public servants expired on June 30, with the state government insisting it will grant increases above 2.5 per cent only if unions accept major workplace changes and government departments offer proposals to fund them.

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) Victorian secretary Karen Batt said a report in The Age last week revealing that the government was preparing to demand such changes showed it was "walking away" from promises to improve services.

"It's a Treasury-driven agenda with (the) government's representatives focused on trade-offs and not on long-term investment in improved services," Ms Batt said.

The union's state council will meet next Monday to discuss a new industrial campaign against the government highlighting frontline jobs under threat, including child protection workers, park rangers and environmental scientists.

The Police Association last week stepped up its pay campaign by unveiling mobile billboards with graphic pictures of bashed police.

The union wants annual pay increases of 6 per cent, a superannuation increase over four years from 9 to 15 per cent to match the federal public service, and more annual leave. The government says it will allow annual increases of only 2.5 per cent unless departments identify productivity gains to fund them.

A report prepared for the CPSU by the National Institute of Labour Studies at Flinders University concluded that "Victorian public sector employees are worse off than the rest of Australian public sector employees", in absolute terms and relative to the private sector. It found since 1997 pay for Victorian public servants had increased at an average annual rate of 3.6 per cent, compared to 3.9 per cent for Australia's public service as a whole.


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