Since 2019, the Victorian Government’s wages policy and enterprise bargaining framework has had a direct negative impact on the wages outcomes for workers in Public Health, Community Health, private hospitals, private pathology, and IVF health services. It has not been a good policy for the state’s largest workforce, the Victorian economy or the communities in which they work and live.
Members working in the Public Health Sector will be aware of the Public Sector wages bargaining policy in Victoria following the last round of Public Health Sector Enterprise bargaining.
This policy was first implemented in 2019, and then updated in 2022, and it is the framework that guides Government when bargaining with Public Sector Unions like ours.
In short, the Victorian Government has capped Public Sector wages at 2% since 2019.
Since 2019, the Victorian Government’s wages policy and enterprise bargaining framework has had a direct negative impact on the wage outcomes for workers in Public Health, Community Health, private hospitals, private pathology, and IVF health services.
However, this policy has not just kept the wages bill down for the state’s largest employer, it has also had a negative impact on their families and the communities in which they work and live.
Like many other unions, we use the outcomes achieved in Public Health Sector negotiations to bargain for our members in the Private and Community Health sectors. The policy has an impact beyond our Public Health Sector members.
The wage policy was updated in 2022 with the framework revised and the cap is now set at 3%, notwithstanding the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the March 2023 quarter rose to 7%.
This month, the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal announced that Members of Parliament and Public Sector Executives will receive a wage increase of 3.5%.
Parliament will likely defend the decision by saying that the Tribunal is independent of the Government. But they certainly won’t be turning it down!
Why is there one rule for us, and another rule for them?
We’re back at the bargaining table in 2025 for a new Public Health Sector Agreement.
We represent (among other professions), scientists, psychologists and hospital pharmacists. Our members are workers who risked their own health, and the health of loved ones, to keep working through the continuing COVID pandemic so that our community is a little safer.
We will seek fair wage increases that address the cost-of-living pressures members are facing. The last Agreement and its artificially capped 2% wage increase only just scraped the sides.
This Government needs to be reminded that workers won’t be pushed around and that we won’t take less than we’re worth next time.
We encourage all members to write to your State Member of Parliament and let them know how you feel about the Public Sector wage policy that caps increases to a maximum of 3%.
Frankly, this is a shocking decision from the Remuneration Tribunal.
It is entirely out of step with the wage policy set by the Victorian Government, a policy that directly influences the wage outcomes of Public, Community and Private Health Sector workers, and the communities in which they live and work, across Victoria.
Worse still, it stinks of double standards. How are Members of Parliament deserving of 3.5% while Victoria’s health heroes only get 2%?
Write to your State Member of Parliament and let them know how you feel about the Public Sector wages cap of 3%.