26 September 2023

Lowest-paid PS staff gets highest raise

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The ACT’s lowest-paid public servants are to receive a 34 per cent pay raise over three years following a long union campaign.

A meeting of ACT General Service Officers (GSOs) accepted a deal from the Government last week which is to see the lowest-paid GSOs receive a 34 per cent pay increase over three years, while other bands are to receive an annual increase of between eight and 12 per cent.

Commenting on the deal, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said lifting the wages of lower income Government employees was one of the most practical measures the Territory could take to address cost-of-living concerns for workers and their families.

“The commitment I made at the outset of these negotiations was to prioritise wage increases for the Government’s lowest paid employees,” Mr Barr said.

Secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union ACT, Zach Smith said the result was a testament to the courage and determination of the ACT’s GSOs.

“Without GSOs Canberra would disintegrate into chaos,” Mr Smith said.

“They do tough and often dirty jobs to make this city liveable for the rest of us.”

He said the deal would push the salaries of the lowest-paid GSO’s from $50,925 up to $68,266.

An ACT Government spokesperson said the Territory was committed to delivering fair pay outcomes for the entire workforce, with a particular emphasis on raising wages of its lowest paid employees.

“The Government’s pay offers made to GSOs and other ACT Government employees includes fixed dollar amount payments,” they said.

“These fixed dollar amount payments deliver a higher, overall percentage increase for lower paid workers.

“The Government is continuing to negotiate with employee representatives on the various Enterprise Bargaining Agreements the ACT Government has with our workforce.”

Tthe deal has been criticised by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) however, for not going far enough.

Acting Regional Secretary of CPSU, Brenton Higgins welcomed the news but said all ACT Public Servants had wages that weren’t keeping up with the cost of living.

“To only give a small portion of those workers a pay rise is completely unreasonable,” Mr Higgins said, “we can’t have a situation that addresses some low paid workers and leaves others behind.”

“The Chief Minister has moved on decent pay increases for some low-paid public sector workers, but it is vital that he now delivers for the rest of the Public Service in line with his public commitment to offer pay rises that at least match CPI,” Mr Higgins said.

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