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News Media Releases Unions unite to fight State Government assault on public sector workers and services
Unions unite to fight State Government assault on public sector workers and services
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 09:23

For the first time in almost ten years, delegates from Western Australia's public sector unions have come together to defend WA workers from a hostile State Government.

More than 200 delegates from unions representing health, education, community safety, child protection and other public sector workers met to discuss the State Government's ongoing assault on public sector workers and services.

In addition to the State Government's plans to introduce WorkChoices-style changes to WA workplace laws, a range of other State Government changes were discussed, including Mr Buswell's arbitrary 3 per cent budget cuts, the privatisation of State Government services, the State Government's new wages and industrial action policies, as well as the Economic Audit Review and the review of the Public Sector Management Act.

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said the Barnett Government had launched an all out assault on public sector workers and unions were coming together to discuss how to protect the rights of workers and preserve the quality of public sector services, such as health, education, community safety and child protection.

"The Barnett Government has launched an unprecedented assault on public sector workers this year," Ms McGurk said.

"Not only have we seen the implementation of an unfair wages policy, but we have seen the State Government stop the pay of some of the State Government's lowest paid workers as they campaign for a fair wages deal.

"In addition, the Barnett Government has announced that it intends to privatise many State Government services, which will likely see people previously employed by the State Government employed by contractors on lower wages, with services suffering as a result.

"At the same time, Mr Barnett and Mr Buswell have been plotting changes to both Western Australia's industrial relations laws and the Public Sector Management Act, which are likely to seriously undermine the award safety net and workplace conditions of public sector workers, such as health workers, educations workers, police officers and child protection officers."

Ms McGurk said the Barnett Government had shown its true colours in 2009 and public sector unions would do everything they could in the year ahead to protect the rights of public sector workers and ensure essential public services were not further damaged by an increasingly mean-spirited State Government.

"Mr Barnett and Mr Buswell appear to think the public doesn't care how their government treats public sector workers.

"But, as we are finding out on a daily basis, with the health system lurching from one crisis to another, Mr Barnett and Mr Buswell's assault on public sector workers is having a real impact on the standard of public sector services and all Western Australians who rely upon them.

"Today's meeting of public sector unions will discuss Mr Barnett and Mr Buswell's ongoing assault on public sector workers and discuss strategies for protecting public sector workers and services in the year ahead."

Today's meeting coincided with UnionsWA's launch of an online game that challenges competitors to prevent Troy Buswell from introducing WorkChoices-style changes into Western Australian work places.

The game can be viewed at www.noworkchoicesinwa.com and is the latest stage of UnionsWA's No WorkChoices in WA campaign, which was launched in September to build public awareness of the State Government's planned changes to WA's industrial relations laws.  The campaign includes a series of television commercials to highlight the threat to more than 300,000 workers remaining in the State industrial relations system.

Ms McGurk said the No WorkChoices in WA campaign would be run until the State Government guaranteed that it would:

·         Not introduce WorkChoices style individual contracts in Western Australia;

·         Not erode minimum standards or the award safety net system in Western Australian workplaces;

·         Maintain the role of the WA Industrial Relations Commission as the independent umpire;

·         Maintain protections against unfair dismissal; and

·         Maintain and improve public services in WA.

Ends.

 MEDIA CONTACT:  Simone McGurk, UnionsWA, 0407 199 890

  UnionsWA Media Release 20091215 130.00 Kb

 
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