Home Australia Unions NSW to campaign against Perrottet government in lead up to March state election

Unions NSW to campaign against Perrottet government in lead up to March state election

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Unions NSW has publicly declared it will campaign against the Perrottet government to address growing anger amongst workers across the state.

Secretary of Unions NSW, Mark Morey, told the ALP’s state conference in Sydney, union members are now on a campaign footing for the next 160 days in the lead up to the March state election.

Mr Morey said workers were “very outraged” by a drop in wages combined with the rising cost of living and the state Coalition government needed to be “turfed out”.

“The NSW union movement will be campaigning in every square foot of this state,” Mr Morey said.

“We are going to make the Liberals accountable for the hospital waiting lists, overworked teachers, bungled transport projects, and the jobs for their mates.”

“Visit any hospital in the state, any rail yard, any lunch room in any store, warehouse restaurant or school. The workers will tell you the same thing,” he said.

“Everything is going up except their wages.”

Workers have also been the focus of NSW Labor leader Chris Minns this week, who promised to better protect gig economy employees and boost their workplace entitlements, should he win next year.

NSW treasurer Matt Kean accused Mr Minns of working in the unions’ interest.

“What I would say to the unions and to Chris Minns, is that the public of New South Wales are not their political play thing,” he said.

“We should always be focused on what’s in the community interest and not what’s in vested interests. The New South Wales government will always stand up for the people of this state.

“Chris Minns … works in the unions’ interest, whereas we will work in the community’s interests.”

Over the past 12 months, nurses, paramedics, teachers and rail workers have taken part in industrial action — some turning out in large numbers for protest rallies.

Industrial action has disrupted the state rail network for months during negotiations between the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) and the government over a new enterprise agreement and safety issues.

In August, nurses and midwives walked off the job for the third time this year demanding a boost to staffing levels — while in June thousands of teachers from public and Catholic schools took part in an historic joint strike over pay and conditions.

Unions NSW commissioned a YouGov poll of 2,797 NSW voters in August and September, which it says backs up claims that public sector workers are fed up with declining living standards.

The results indicate many believe the service provided by public hospitals is getting worse, with the vast majority blaming the state government.

The majority of those polled said the problem was being caused by public sector worker wages for hospital employees not keeping up with the cost of living.

Fewer than 18 per cent of respondents thought services including schools, ambulances, and transport were better.

Mr Morey said confidence in the public sector is collapsing because of ongoing government cuts and the state government’s public sector wage cap, which was lifted from 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent in June.

“One in four public sector workers are thinking about moving interstate. We’re on the verge of a mass resignation,” he said.

In June, employees from the ministries of health, education, justice, transport and customer service decided to proceed with industrial action after their union rejected the state government’s offer of a 3 per cent wage increase.

Premier Dominic Perrottet offered frontline health workers a one-off $3,000 “appreciation” payment, as an acknowledgement of their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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