Victorian Labor Government off to bad start
It is only natural to expect that those who will be working during New Year festivities are be properly compensated for the time they'll spend away from their families and friends. The pressure to mark the beginning of the year 2000 is immense — obscene amounts of money are being spent on restaurant bookings, and entertainment. During these festivities many people will be required to work — hospital workers, firefighters, ambulance officers, police, transport workers, and of course those in the hospitality sector, to mention a few. Victoria's public sector workers feel very let down by the new Labor Government as Cabinet had decided to refer the question of millennium compensation payments back to individual departments and government agencies for negotiation with unions. Victorian Trades Hall Council Secretary Leigh Hubbard described the Government's decision as very disappointing. There is very little time left to work out rosters for hospitals, police and other agencies. "Our concern is that uncertainty will cause many workers not to volunteer for rosters or indeed not to turn out to work on New Year's eve if negotiations with individual departments and agencies do not result in satisfactory outcomes", said Mr Hubbard. The Government has missed an opportunity to raise morale in the Victorian public sector after seven years of unrelenting attacks from the Kennett Government, said Mr Hubbard. As he put it "times have been tough in the Victorian public sector. Police, nurses and other emergency services workers have felt the brunt of job and budget cuts. The issue of a special millennium payment and additional public holidays provided the Cabinet with a great opportunity to demonstrate how much they valued the work of Victorian sector workers. The unions will begin the fragmented negotiations with government departments and agencies but it has the potential to turn into a nightmare with the short time available to both management and unions.