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Union expects 2000 more job cuts

THE public sector union has tipped another 2000 job cuts within days as the Queensland government drop punts pay offer negotiations to an independent umpire.

Together union secretary Alex Scott said on Thursday morning he expected hundreds of jobs in the environment, natural resources, agriculture and fisheries departments to be announced on Thursday or Friday.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister John McVeigh later announced at least 200 jobs would be cut from his department, confirming the regions would not be immune.

Mr Scott said he also expected thousands of job cuts in the public works department in coming days.

He told media in Brisbane he supported the government's decision to send the public service enterprise bargaining agreement to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

But he disputed there had been a "breakdown in negotiations" and denied he was behaving "erratically" with a bizarre round of press conferences on Wednesday.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls said it was this "erratic behaviour" that led him, through the Public Service Commission to seek the help of QIRC.

He said the government had put its pay increase on the table during a closed meeting on Wednesday but the union had not been clear about what it wanted.

"In light of the union boss's increasingly erratic behaviour yesterday and some of the stunts, we feel it is necessary to enlist the aid of the commissioners in supervising negotiations to see if we can progress this matter," he said.

"We are interested in delivering results for our hard-working public servants but we're not interested in the union stunts that have been displayed over the past 24 hours."

Mr Scott said he had "productive and fruitful discussions" with professional government negotiators on Wednesday but would not back away from job security issues, such as no forced retrenchments.

But Mr Nicholls said his government needed "the flexibility to get our right-size public service", suggesting the final job cut figure could reach more than the estimated 20,000.

Topics:  job cuts public sector union


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