- The Guardian
- Issue #2014
Over the last two weeks, intense industrial action has been taken against the Perrottet government.
Having held a mass meeting at Sydney’s Town Hall, The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) rejected the state government’s offer of a three per cent pay rise. Speaking to members, NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, noted their frustration towards the NSW government stating that:
“Our members have spoken, and they are extremely upset with this government. They are frustrated by the government’s abhorrent treatment of their female-dominated professions, and for ignoring their pleas for safe staffing ratios to be introduced […]. […]
“During every opportunity to meet with the government, we’ve outlined how our members all want to be working in a health system that actually delivers the best possible patient care that all communities rightly deserve. It is not unreasonable to seek safe and transparent minimum staffing.”
The meeting voted in favour of continuing and intensifying industrial action until excessive workloads and widespread burnout is addressed. Additionally, during the meeting, members called on the union to pursue a pay increase of seven per cent in light of their extreme working conditions and inflation.
Later that week, thousands of teachers from public and Catholic schools struck in NSW and the ACT demanding better wages and working conditions. The united action was agreed upon by the executives of the NSW Teachers Federation and the Independent Education Union of Australia (NSW/ACT). Demanding “more than thanks”, NSW Teachers Federation is asking for a pay rise of between five and seven per cent. This is the third such action in six months. It was the first time in more than twenty-five years that both unions joined forces to strike for twenty-four hours.
Speaking to reporters, NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos stated that:
“We have a crisis in the form of a teacher shortage, a crisis that is the government’s own making […]. […] The government has known for years the causes of this crisis: uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads.”
Industrial action for unions in NSW was further buoyed by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) allowing the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) to proceed with strike actions Wednesday and Friday after the NSW government lost its attempt to suspend the planned industrial action. However, despite the win, the RTBU – as a sign of good faith to commuters who would be affected by the adverse weather in the state – decided to operate approximately seventy per cent of the fleet.
The actions are due to safety concerns with the New Intercity Fleet. The NSW government has agreed to fix the safety issues, however, according to the RTBU Secretary Alex Claassens the union needs to see it in writing, with Claassens stating:
“This isn’t the first time the NSW government has promised it will fix the safety issues. Rail workers and commuters have been burnt too many times to believe what one Minister in one meeting says. We need to see the whole package in writing to make sure this isn’t just another case of the NSW government playing political games.”
The CPA supports these workers in their actions and fights for better pay and conditions! The NSW government has consistently mistreated workers. We must remember how the Perrottet government has treated crucial workers in the lead-up to next year’s state election.