Union shoots down Gunner’s austerity budget
ETU slams four year wage freeze as betrayal
The Electrical Trades Union has the Gunner Government in its sights after what the union describes as an austerity budget that kicks frontline workers in the guts and puts the COVID recovery at risk.
ETU State Secretary Peter Ong said the Territory Government’s budget betrays the workers who have kept the NT safe and functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This decision is the wrong decision, the last thing the NT economy needs now is austerity, when you reduce real wages over such a long period of time for a significant chunk of the workforce you increase the severity of the downturn.”
Mr Ong said the Government’s announcement has been met with anger and frustration by members at TGen and Power Water Corp (PWC), who feel they are being punished for years of incompetent management, ballooning consultant costs and failed projects.
“Our ETU members across TGen and PWC are livid, they have endured incompetent management, they have seen millions of dollars wasted in perpetual failed projects which do nothing except fill the pockets of consultants, they’ve seen more executive contracts awarded while we struggle to get apprentices on and now the Government announces a four-year wage freeze without even consulting with them and their union, it is an act of arrogance and a betrayal of trust.” Ong said.
Mr Ong said it had taken a lot of hard work to get skilled TGen and PWC workers on to reasonable wages and conditions but he warned that skilled frontline essential service workers will leave in their droves if this ill-conceived wage freeze policy is implemented leaving the NT electricity industry with a massive skills shortage.
“The Territory has been screaming for skilled workers and their families to make a life for themselves up in the top end, this will stop that in its tracks and worse it will lead to a brain drain which will affect not only the electricity industry but small businesses that rely on those families spending in their communities.” He said.
The union will be seeking further direction from its members over the coming weeks. The ETU is scheduled to negotiate EBA’s with both PWC and TGen over the next two years.