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Union fails to attend meeting

Treasurer Tim Nicholls
Treasurer Tim Nicholls lnp.org.au

THREE water glasses sat in front of the empty seats ready for union officials who failed to turn up to talk with Treasurer Tim Nicholls about the government's plans to cut the size of the public sector.

Mr Nicholls said he was "disappointed" Together union secretary Alex Scott had chosen to play games by aborting the meeting rather than meet with him.

Mr Scott, and two other union leaders, walked into the government's Executive Building, told security he would not attend the meeting, and left again.

He had told media during the day that he would not attend if he could not take three public servants into the meeting to discuss Queensland's financial state.

Mr Nicholls told media he believed it was only appropriate to deal with union representatives.

He told APN he had made provisions for the public servants to have discussions with government staff to bring them up to date, but in a separate meeting room.

Asked whether he had conveyed that to the union, Mr Nicholls said he was never given the opportunity.

"They were not refused entry," he said.

"We made it clear we were prepared to meet.

"The government has offered a 2.2% pay rise but the union had argued public servants would reject the latest proposal because it still stripped a clause on job security from work agreements.

Premier Campbell Newman has said the rate was 1% above inflation and they could not afford any more because of the state's financial situation.

The move followed news the Together union did not muster enough support from youth detention centre workers for a proposed strike over the pay dispute.

Mr Nicholls thanked public servants for their "understanding" after only 35 youth detention centre workers voted in a ballot to take strike action.

Mr Scott said plans for new formal balloting processes, required before protected industrial action can occur, would stretch Electoral Commission Queensland resources.


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