26 September 2023

Union blows whistle on vacant jobs

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The public sector union Together has called on Queensland public employers to ensure they’re up to date on the latest policies when making employment decisions.

In a statement, the union said the Australian Labor Party (ALP), as part of its election campaign, had committed to continuing to increase the number of front-line public sector workers and not decreasing non-front-line workers, except at the Senior Executive Service (SES) level.

“The ALP has ruled out using natural attrition to reduce the size of the Public Service,” the union said.

“As part of its election campaign, the Liberal National Party has also committed to continuing to increase the number of’ front-line public sector workers and has ruled out reducing the Public Service by either natural attrition or by redundancies.”

Together said it was seeking to raise the importance of Government jobs and services in rebuilding community services and also in rebuilding the economy.

The union outlined problems that had arisen in the functions of the Public Service during the election’s caretaker period that were in contravention of political commitments.

“Together is ensuring the full implementation of members’ recent success in securing changes to the Public Service Act,” it said.

“This means improved conversion rights for long-term temporary employees and new conversion rights for members working in long-term higher duties arrangements are in place.”

It said Queensland Health’s decision not to fill vacant positions avoided its legal requirements and led to a significant revision of the Responsible Workforce Management policy.

“Vacant positions must be filled in accordance with our industrial agreements and we are seeking to enforce this in every part of Queensland Health,” the union said.

“Together has also met with the Public Service Commissioner and the Deputy Premier and Minister for Health about our concerns. Following these meetings, the Government has changed the process for the implementation of this plan.

However, Together said it was clear the decisions that were currently being made by a range of public sector employers remained in breach of the legal requirements and were inconsistent with Government policy on public sector staffing levels.

“Together is continuing to meet with public sector employers in an attempt have vacancies filled in line with Government policy,” it said.

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