Libs in bid to ‘silence workers’

Mat Johnston

Mat Johnston

UNIONS claim the state government is going to ‘‘unprecedented lengths’’ to stop public sector workers attend rallies in protest against next week’s state budget.

Community and Public Sector Union acting secretary Mat Johnston said staff had received instructions from the government that they must inform employers where they were during their lunch break on budget day.

A budget-day rally against the government’s anti-protest laws and wage freezes has been planned by unions, and Mr Johnston said the Liberals were attempting to silence workers.

‘‘The threat being put to workers is around their salaries,’’ Mr Johnston said.

‘‘They are being asked by their bosses to tell their bosses where they are going for their lunch break; that is totally inappropriate,’’ he said.

Lyons Liberal MHA Rene Hidding said the correspondence sent to public servants was standard advice to employees and was almost ‘‘word for word’’ the same as advice given in 2011 by the previous government.

‘‘It just reminds employees of their obligations,’’ Mr Hidding said.

‘‘From my reading of the letter, the lunch break is theirs.’’

Acting Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard said police officers were entitled to express their views, and did not have to say they were attending the rally.

‘‘The state service employees have been instructed that they are quite entitled to attend the rally so long as they do so in their own time, for example their lunch break,’’ Mr Tilyard said.

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