Andrew Fraser
Andrew Fraser

Workers to protest at Fraser's office

NURSES, firefighters, teachers, prison officers and other public sector workers will protest outside the office of Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser on Wednesday rallying against the O’Farrell Government’s new industrial relations laws.

Trade unionists will stage simultaneous protest actions across NSW.

In Coffs Harbour they will meet at Brelsford Park at 3.30pm to march on Mr Fraser’s office because he is a representative of the Government.

“We’re campaigning because these laws are bad news for public sector workers and bad news for Coffs Harbour,” Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon said.

“No Australian worker should be stripped of their rights, particularly workers who deliver such crucial community services."

The firefighters’ union has joined the rally, claiming the Government's new laws passed through parliament last month attack the rights of emergency services personnel and force wage rises below rises in the cost of living.

“Current award conditions covering training, safety, wages or conditions can now be struck out at the stroke of a ministerial pen, with firefighters forced to agree to reduced staffing numbers or conditions if they want pay rises that match the cost of living increases,” Fire Brigade Employees’ Union state secretary Jim Casey said.

“The O’Farrell Government is offering firefighters a choice between seeing our wages go backwards, or selling off jobs to fund pay rises.

“We won’t see our wages go backwards, but having less firefighters on the road puts the community and those firefighters who are responding at greater risk.

“It’s an impossible choice to ask us to make, and we’re not willing to accept it,” he said.

The union claims an independent study by Sydney University’s Workplace Research Centre shows the impact the new policies would have had on the families of nurses, police, teachers and firefighters if they had been in place over the past decade.

It’s claimed the 2.5% pay rise (less than inflation) would have left a registered nurse $12,232 a year worse off, a senior constable $8,961 a year worse off and a teacher $14,850 a year worse off.

“Any family with a public sector worker is likely to be worse off under these laws,” Mr Lennon said.



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