The O’Farrell Government’s draconian industrial relations legislation will be back before the Parliament next week, where it is expected to pass into law.
This is the beginning of a new period of industrial turmoil for NSW public sector workers. Not only does this legislation lock in pay rises less than inflation, not only does it legislate to make the IRC a mouth piece of the government, it also enshrines the concept of “employee related cost offsets” in any future negotiations.
Put simply – it doesn’t matter how hard we work or what new duties we take on. According to the government that is simply our job, and we will do as we are told. To receive wage rises firefighters will have to find “cost offsets”. That will mean selling off jobs. We are being offered a choice – see our wages decline, or see our job cut back. It is a choice no firefighter should have to make.
Consequently next Wednesday 15 June there will be a rally outside Parliament of public sector unions. It appears certain that the law will be passed – that means we have to ensure that it cannot be enacted. That will take many things – community campaigning, legal challenges, and most importantly industrial action. O’Farrell may have a big majority in the Legislative Assembly. But he doesn’t have enough politicians to staff every fire engine, every bus, every hospital, every school and every other public sector workplace in NSW.
Different public sector unions are holding stop work meetings to allow members to attend. Every major hospital in the GSA will be stopping work for up to four hours, many PSA and HSU workplaces will follow suit. Even the harbour bridge workers are downing tools.
Firefighters will join them. Yesterday the State Committee approved a stop work meeting of both on-duty and off-duty permanent members to occur next Wednesday 15 June.
This is the first round in what is going to be a long fight. It is important that the rally is large, so that the government knows exactly what opposition they face.
All permanent members in the GSA other than those expressly exempted (TBA) are therefore to stop work in time to attend a stop work meeting
Where: St Mary’s Cathedral Square, College St, SydneyWhen: 1130 AM Wednesday 15June 2011
Where: Lowden Square, Wollongong When: 0830 AM Wednesday 15 June 2011 Who: 277, 503 (Pump and Bronto), 422
Where: Civic Park, King Street Newcastle When: 1200 PM Wednesday 15 June 2011 Who: TBA
Central Coast and Country Sub Branches details TBA
Retained members are requested to attend their closest meeting if possible
Off Duty Members
In solidarity with on duty members, any available off duty members are requested to attend one of the above meetings, in turnout gear.
Further information about the proposed laws can be found here. A petition against the proposed laws can be found here.
Please sign the petition and return to the Union office as soon as possible.