Government games will result in school closures

Government games will result in school closures

Education Facility Attendants (EFAs) are fed up with the Government’s games.

United Voice members put a reasonable, fair, and affordable counter offer to the government. Education Facility Attendants (EFAs) have shifted considerably from their original position of 3% and proposed to meet the Hodgman Government in the middle with a counteroffer of 2.5%. But the government response is just more political games.

Tasmanian Branch Secretary, Jannette Armstrong says, “Rather than responding maturely and in good faith, the government has chosen, yet again, to delay progress of negotiations with childish games. We could be signing off on a deal right now. EFAs could be lifting work bans and getting back to the jobs they love and take pride in. Instead the government has demanded an immediate end to all industrial action, but say they won’t meet with us to respond to our counteroffer until late next week. It is absolutely unacceptable.  

“What the government has proposed is to meet with unions next Thursday, the day AFTER their self-imposed deadline for inclusion of back pay. It is little wonder public sector workers have no faith in this government’s process. They can’t sort out housing. They won’t sort out our hospitals. And they don’t even care about keeping our schools open. All they want to do is play political games.”

Education Facility Attendant and United Voice Delegate, Mary Bartlett says, “After 12 months of failed negotiations we don’t trust this government anymore. There is no faith. We need something more than an empty promise of a meeting.

“If the government was genuinely concerned about the safety and hygiene of schools, and serious about keeping schools open, they would put pen to paper for 2.5% today.

“We don’t like seeing schools that have not been vacuumed since Monday last week, or rooms being closed off completely because they are unsafe. We don’t want to see schools close - we want to get back to doing the jobs we love, but we also want to be treated with respect and decency by our employer and to be paid a decent wage.

“Mr Hodgman may think he’s got all the time in the world, but EFAs, students, and parents need this sorted out now. Fobbing us off until the end of next week just shows fixing this mess and keeping schools open is not a priority for Premier Hodgman or his Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff.”

Union Secretaries said they remain willing and available to meet with the Government any time of day or night, weekday or weekend.

Ms Armstrong says, “We are more than happy to lock ourselves in a room with the Premier and not come out until we have in principle agreement. But that needs to happen sooner rather than later. As it stands, with no details of what the meeting on Thursday might entail, we have no reason to believe such a meeting would result in resolution.

“The goodwill is gone and EFAs won’t back down. Work bans will remain in place and potentially escalate, until in principle agreement is reached. Unfortunately due to the Government’s refusal to respond before next Thursday, that may mean some schools will have no option but to close next week.”