The Hon. Rob Lucas MLC

The Hon

Rob Lucas MLC

Treasurer

Media Releases

Secret Labor wage deal threatens further Health budget blowout

Thursday, 10 January 2019

A secret deal struck between the former Labor government and its union mates just prior to the election would potentially cost taxpayers an additional $23 million over the next five years, for the delivery of security services in health.

Security services at the state’s public hospitals have been provided for many years by a private contractor MSS Security who pay their private security guards in accordance with the Federal Security Award.

“However the union, representing some private security guards, is trying to argue that instead of the relevant Federal Modern Award, its members should be paid under a public sector EA, which coincidentally offers a 17 per cent higher wage rate,” said Treasurer Lucas.

“The union is arguing that a secret deal struck with the former Labor government embedded in the EA to argue their claim for higher wage rates, which – if enforced – would cost taxpayers an extra $23 million over the next five years (until 2023-24).

“In a health system already haemorrhaging hundreds of millions – this is utterly untenable and would add to a budget blowout the new Government is trying desperately to rein in.”

The existing MSS and SA Health contract expired on 30 June 2018 and has been extended to early this year, pending the finalisation of the procurement process (which is subject to Cabinet consideration). 

The South Australian Public Sector Wages Parity (Weekly Paid) Enterprise Agreement 2017 was negotiated by the former Labor government and came into effect on 24 January 2018.

United Voice is arguing that its MSS members should be paid at the rate under the Weekly Paid Agreement because of a clause that states:

“any renewal, extension of or new contracts (of already outsourced or contracted out work) will be entered into between the Employer and the Contractor on the basis that employees of the Contractor must be paid no less favourably for the hours worked as set out in the SA Government Wages Parity (Weekly Paid) Enterprise Agreement 2017 (or its successor).”

Put simply there is an existing outsourced contract to MSS where workers are paid Award wages and Labor and union bosses are arguing taxpayers should spend $23 million for merely extending an existing outsourced contract.

This is absolutely crazy stuff which would only make sense to the Labor Party and union bosses.  It is yet another example of the financial mismanagement and incompetence of the former Labor government.

The Government on behalf of taxpayers will fight the union on this issue and there is currently a dispute before the South Australian Employment Tribunal.

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