CPSU ACT secretary Vince McDevitt. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Public service unions have reacted angrily to a revised wage offer from the ACT government.
Unions are demanding urgent talks with Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and Treasurer Andrew Barr about the proposal, which was put to unions on Monday night.
Public servants rejected the government's first offer of 2 per cent in June.
But unions said the new proposal only offered a better deal to public servants earning less than $77,000.
The Community and Public Sector Union said on Tuesday the offer on paper was not what the government had flagged over several weeks of negotiations.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation will send out protected action ballots to nurses next week advising them to vote in favour of several stages of industrial action, which will culminate in a strike.
The government on Tuesday defended its offer and said anything higher could put jobs at risk.
But both the government and unions said they were still open to talks about the wage proposal.
The CPSU said the revised offer granted a 6 per cent pay rise this year to the lowest-paid workers in the ACT public service, which were apprentices and trainees.
The offer is reduced for every $20,000 extra an employee earns, with workers earning more than $77,000 getting 2 per cent this year and six instalments of 1.5 per cent over the four-year agreement.
CPSU ACT branch secretary Vince McDevitt said workers would have to wait 15 months for the next pay rise in 2014.
Mr McDevitt said public servants would not accept the offer and he was seeking an urgent meeting with the government this week.
''It's a different offer and it's not as generous as we had been contemplating,'' he said.
''It's not expressed for a start as a flat dollar amount and they said it would be.
''These percentages are not in keeping with our expectations.''
Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said on Tuesday the government had offered what it could afford.
But Ms Gallagher said the government was open to further talks with unions.
''We'd offered 8 per cent over four years, we've upped that offer and we've done it in a way that we can afford without cutting jobs,'' she said.
''This is something that we can manage without cutting jobs but anything over and above starts to be a real stretch on our budget.''
Ms Gallagher said any industrial action would be ''poor form'' while negotiations were continuing.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation has applied for protected action, with ballots to go to nurses next week.
ACT branch secretary Jenny Miragaya said while the government's offer was generous for low-paid workers, there was little improvement for nurses.
Ms Miragaya said the majority of the federation's members would still receive only 2 per cent.
The federation is proposing a series of protests, beginning with a ban on uniforms and ending with a 24-hour strike.
Nurses will be asked to vote on the measures by the end of the month.
''Our advice will be for members to vote in favour of all of them,'' Ms Miragaya said.
''Nurses don't take industrial action lightly, so I imagine it would start with something that would have the least effects on nursing and midwifery services.''