Pay rise for park workers
Victoria's 1000 national and state park staff have been awarded a healthy pay rise by the workplace umpire following months of industrial action.
The decision by the Fair Work Commission to grant a 4.5 per cent pay rise back-dated to October, then 3 per cent every March until 2016, is more than the government had offered but less than union demands.
Parks Victoria had offered 3 per cent on commencement of the new determination and 2.75 per cent after 12 months; and 2.75 per cent after 24 months.
Unions were more aggressive, calling for 3.5 per cent from July last year, 6.3 per cent when a deal was struck and 4 per cent after 12 months; and 4 per cent after two years.
Parks staff mounted several strikes last year including refusing to unlock national park gates during peak periods such as Easter and Australia Day.
Community and Public Sector Union state secretary Karen Batt said they were "delighted" with the decision, but savaged the Baillieu government for its actions during negotiations.
"It is the end of a long hard fight and I think the government's behaviour during this bargaining process has been mean-spirited. They are behaving as if they are a rogue employer," Ms Batt said.
"We think people who have been working in parks and support the park rangers, many of them out fighting fires as we speak, deserve the size of the pay rise ordered by Fair Work."
While the Fair Work Commission is yet to make a final workplace determination, on an initial assessment the decision appears to be generally in line with government wages policy, given the timeframes and productivity improvements involved.
The Victorian Coalition government's wages policy provides for wage increase of 2.5 per cent plus additional increases funded through genuine productivity improvements.