STATE Emergency Service staff say they will refuse to attend any events with Emergency Services Minister Peter Ryan after more than a year of failed negotiations with the government over pay and conditions.
SES workers are paid less than their counterparts in the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Country Fire Authority or Victoria Police. A senior operations officer with the CFA is paid about $117,000 a year – an equivalent SES worker gets close to $85,000.
SES staff also argue they get less leave, poorer superannuation and fewer rest days while working at incidents than all other emergency service workers. The government has offered SES workers a 3 per cent per year pay rise for three years, but staff say this is not enough.
Besides refusing to appear alongside Mr Ryan, staff have agreed to about 40 indefinite work bans they are now authorised to take by the industrial umpire.
The government’s long-running reluctance to budge on staff pay has been accompanied by a leaked memo, released by Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews last week, which shows the SES faces a $4.2 million funding cut over the next four years.
The move by SES workers follows a similar decision by teachers to ban Coalition MPs from schools as part of their industrial campaign.
Community and Public Sector Union state secretary Karen Batt said: ”if the minister seeks to have some sort of kudos by standing next to SES staff, they’re not prepared to do that any more.”
A spokeswoman for Mr Ryan said the government was disappointed by the decision.
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