After protracted pay negotiations, the Tasmanian Government is under pressure again with correctional officers walking off the job and engineers likely to consider industrial action.
Corrections Minister Elise Archer has urged unions to resume negotiations after officers walked off the job for two hours on Thursday afternoon in protest at what they say are plans to recruit untrained staff in prisons.
Seven correctional officers in Launceston took part in the action which forced the early adjournment of a trial and the cancellation of planned bail applications in the Supreme Court.
Minister for Corrections Elise Archer said the government had "been following the process agreed with unions as part of the agreements registered earlier this year".
"The pay of correctional staff, should the unions accept this offer, will be competitive with interstate correctional officers," Ms Archer said.
"It is disappointing that, despite the government making a fair and reasonable offer that includes wage increases higher than other Justice (Department) employees, the unions have commenced industrial action rather than responding to the government's offer.
"I call on the unions to stop politicising the work of correctional officers and get back to the negotiation table so all parties can work together to achieve the best outcome for correctional officers."
Community and Public Sector Union secretary Tom Lynch said industrial action would be stepped up in the coming weeks.
"After 18 months of negotiations for a new wages and conditions agreement the only offer the government has made is contingent on correctional ffficers agreeing to the introduction of untrained correctional support officers," Mr Lynch said.
"Prisons are high pressure workplaces so it's crucial to know the officer who has your back are fully trained and can respond in an emergency situation.
"Our prison system is on the brink of failure and is only being held together by the commitment and dedication of correctional officers.
"Having untrained staff filling correctional posts undermines everyone's safety and security and our members won't accept it."
Jannette Armstrong from the United Workers Union said a commitment from the government to invest in current and future employees was needed.
"We outright reject the attempt to replace experienced correctional officers with inexperienced, lower qualified positions that would be unable to use appropriate interventions on prisoners," Ms Armstrong said.
"To think that the Government believes the growing list of issues at Risdon Prison will be solved by bringing in lower skilled and lower paid workers just beggars belief."
Meanwhile, 23 engineers working at the Department of State Growth have accused the government of hypocrisy after their union said it withdrew a pay offer that had already been accepted.
Luke Crowley, the Tasmanian branch director of Professionals Engineers Australia said engineers want the government to stick to its original offer.
"The Government has demonstrated major hypocrisy by refusing to honour its written offer to engineers," Mr Crowley said.
"Members at State Growth are deeply concerned at the ongoing reduction of engineering capacity in the government.
"Just 10 years ago Tasmanians had 33 engineers working for the public to manage and deliver roads and traffic infrastructure, today this has slipped to just 23 qualified Engineers.
"These professionals are expected to cover the maintenance of an increasing asset base as well as an unprecedented pipeline of well over $1 billion of upcoming work.
"A failure to attract and retain engineering skills to provide government oversight of these projects will lead to longer delays, less innovation and major cost blow outs."
A government spokeswoman said the offer to engineers was not withdrawn.
"The offer was not withdrawn, there was an administrative error that was rectified," she said.
"As a sign of good will to reach agreement, the offer was increased."
Mr Crowley said: "it is an absolute fact that the offer is inferior".