Casual state government staff brought in to respond to Tasmania’s fruit fly crisis weren’t paid for almost a month, according to the Community and Public Sector Union(CPSU).
The CPSU has taken the Department of Primary Industries Parks Water and Environment (DPIPWE) to the Industrial Commission for breaching the public sector award.
DPIPWE employed about 20 workers to help fight the fruit fly incursions at George Town, Flinders Island and Devonport.
CPSU state secretary Tom Lynch said some of the workers employed on February 27 did not receive payments until March 21.
“In some cases we had people who copped dishonour fees because money didn’t go in when they expected,” he said.
“We had other people who told us they couldn’t afford to put petrol in their car to get to their next shift.”
Mr Lynch said by law the department was required to pay the workers within a fortnight of doing a day of work.
“The system that DPIPWE had put in place saw them not being paid for up to three weeks or in some cases longer,” he said.
“That is unreasonable for people who are in need of wages.”
The Public Sector Union’s Tom Lynch says the workers should have had fixed term contracts. (ABC News: David Hudspeth)
Mr Lynch said the workers who are expected to be working on the fruit fly response for the next three months, should have been placed on fixed-term contracts.
“It is simply not good enough for the largest employer in the state, the State Government to treat their workers in that way.”
A spokesman for DPIPWE did not respond to a list of questions sent via email about the award breach.
Instead he said: “This is an active matter before the Industrial Commission.”
“The department is committed to working through the process to achieve an appropriate outcome.”