Job Losses through ideology

Posted March 18, 2013 by Vivienne Doogan

The Minister for Transport, Scott Emerson had announced last year that Roadtek would be stopped from tendering for work in South-east Queensland.

However due to the inability for the market to do all the work, Roadtek will still have contracts for maintenance on the following in South-east Queensland:

  • Electrical
  • Intelligent transport systems
  • Bridge and structure inspections, servicing and rehabilitation
  • Linemarking activities included within the current state wide contract

It is anticipated that tenders will be called in May/June for the outsourcing of this work, with contracts being awarded in September/October. RoadTek will continue to do this work until November.

This is despite Roadtek having a 29.4% return on equity.

The Minister thinks it is unfair that Roadtek bid against private companies.

The Newman government claims that the public sector is less efficient, but they want to shield the private sector construction companies from competing against the efficient operations of Roadtek.

One thing is certain: Queenslanders will pay more for the maintenance of our roads and hard working employees will lose their jobs.

It is anticipated about 200 positions will be affected, meaning approximately 150-160 individuals, given that Roadtek has been carrying vacancies. Of this number about 35-40 are from the AO, TO, PO and OO ranks; the rest are either employed under the Civil Construction Award or the Engineering Award.

At this stage no decision has been made to offer redundancies. The claim is that every effort will be made to place staff in vacancies in Roadtek.

Your union’s delegates made representation to management that members need all the information to make informed decisions about their future, including whether redundancies would be offered.

They also asked whether the government would make it part of the conditions of the outsourcing that current staff be provided with employment with the new contractors, we were advised that they had no information on that point.

The RoadTek privatisation comes alongside the government's plans to privatise public services, including:

  • Hospitals and health care;
  • Disability services;
  • Child protection services
  • Corrective services; and
  • Aged care facilities.

The government's "Queensland Plan" needs to focus on quality service provision, not selling off services and cutting costs.

Premier Campbell Newman will be promoting the plan in a showcase event in Mackay on 10 May. Union members will be asking him to put quality services on the agenda.

Sign the Change.Org petition and ask the Premier to oppose privatisation.

Over the past weeks we have contacted thousands of Queenslanders who have said in overwhelming numbers that they oppose privatisation. A campaign for public ownership of community services is one that union members can win.

That's why the government has started attacking the ability of its workers to join their unions.

In March 2012 they lied when they promised they would not attack job security. They lied when they said they would not privatise. And they were lying when they said they would not
remove union members' rights at work.

They are following the model developed by Jeff Kennett in Victoria when he started privatisation: cut the ability of union members to pay fees via payroll deduction.

We expect that in a few weeks the government will announce new legislation to rewrite even more of their awards and industrial agreements. Payroll deduction will be removed - if you are paying your fees by payroll deduction, you need to change your payment method now.

The attacks from the government are a sign that they know Queenslanders are on your side in the campaign for quality public services.

We can win, and build a stronger union that protects all services for Queenslanders from the agenda of short-sighted politicians.


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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