Around 40,000 public sector unionists and their supporters turned out in Sydney, Australia on 8 September to protest anti-worker legislation by the conservative Liberal/National Coalition government of New South Wales.
The Teachers’ Federations struck for the day despite the state government getting a ruling from the Industrial Relations Commission that the strike was illegal. At stake are the issues of a public sector wages cap of 2.5%, no legal right of appeal to government regulation of working conditions, thousands of job cuts and further selling of public assets.
According to legislation passed in June the NSW government can arbitrarily set working conditions, force unions to trade off existing conditions in order to get more than 2.5% in wage increases. It has set aside over 100 years of tradition that such matters can be appealed to the Industrial Court. Some union activists are calling New South Wales the land of “NSWisconsin” after the anti-worker actions of the Governor of Wisconsin, USA.
A coalition of activists covering teachers, transport workers, public servants, fire fighters and more has organised public meetings and called on the union members and their leaderships to fight for:
• Union rights to pursue wage rises and improved working conditions.
• No redundancies: create more jobs for better public services.
• Keep our public services in public hands.
• Defend the right to take industrial action in defence of our public services.
• Mobilise! Talk to your workmates and colleagues. Get our message out to the community!
• Call workplace meetings to discuss the attacks.
• Move motions for serious industrial action to stop the government, and pass these on to your union’s executive.
Power to the People and the NSW Union Activists Network:
Activist Teachers Network: www.activistteacher.com
Progressive PSA: www.progressivepsa.org