Cook Labor Government wages policy handing back the power to unions

The Cook Labor Government’s decision to end the uniform wages policy is a sign the government is abandoning the management of the policy to the unions, according to Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Steve Thomas.

“This is a Premier that is beholden to the unions who put him in the top job and now he is rolling over and handing back the power to them,” Dr Thomas said.

“This is also a slap in the face for those unions who have been left hanging by the government in current negotiations.

“WA nurses and midwives will now effectively be asked to vote on a deal when the government has thrown the rules out the window.

“These critical healthcare workers have gone from being the best paid in the country to some of the lowest under Labor.”

Dr Thomas said it was also clear, that with another multi-billion-dollar boost to the current surplus expected to be announced in the Mid-Year review this week, that the current policy had become impossible to defend.

“This is a government that has been gifted massive surpluses on the back of record iron ore prices and a GST floor set by the former Federal Liberal-National Government,” Dr Thomas said.

“With $5.1 billion in 2022-23 and more than $11 billion in the previous two years, the government has clearly been embarrassed into action.

“With this year’s budget surplus looking like another $6 billion blowout, it will be interesting to see who is calling the shots going forward.”

An update of industrial agreements is included in the state budget, and the latest version from the 2023-24 budget is attached.

“The Government costing of $2.8 billion over a number of years suggests that the unions have already individually worked out where this policy is going,” Dr Thomas said.

“It’s good to see they have let the government know so it could be announced.”