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Labor win a golden opportunity for NSW Workers

March 27, 2023

The election of a new NSW Labor Government presents a golden opportunity not only for the state’s public sector workers to receive fair pay raises and better working conditions but also for the state’s critical manufacturing industry.

AWU NSW Branch Secretary Tony Callinan congratulated Chris Minns and NSW Labor for a remarkable achievement in securing majority government at the state election on March 25, saying that soaring living costs and the previous Government’s miserly pay rises helped cost it the election.

“Voters could see that the government workers we all rely on to keep the state running were bearing the cost for the previous government’s excesses,” Mr Callinan said.

“Scrapping the 2.5% wage cap, when inflation is running at many times that, will have a huge impact on people’s lives.

“State government pay rises and conditions also set the standard in many parts of the private sector, so all NSW workers could see a flow on and be better off.

“We will begin negotiating immediately for a fair pay rise for all AWU members who work in the NSW public sector, and I am optimistic that unlike the previous mob, the Minns Government will put its workers first.”

Mr Callinan said the AWU was also optimist the new Government would breathe new life into local manufacturing.

“The Liberal-National Government spent its entire term offshoring Aussie jobs,” he said.

“It imported trains that did not fit on platforms and needed major safety rectification, trams that cracked and were out of service for months, and ferries that have major mechanical and structural problems and can’t even handle Sydney Harbour swells.

“Chris Minns has promised to bring back local manufacturing when it comes to public infrastructure, including trains and buses.

“These projects will use Australian steel, cement, glass and other materials that is made here, ensuring Aussie jobs in Aussie factories, not just cheap products bought in from overseas.”

 

Mr Callinan said the AWU also expected to see a more positive approach to workplace health and safety under the new Government.

“We have seen a situation recently where WorkSafe NSW has been criticised for being too lax, while some big employers such as John Holland have pushed back on worker safety, even barring AWU efforts to monitor danger dust on site.

“Hopefully we will see a Government that is better prepared to work positively with all unions to make sure WHS laws are strengthened for every NSW worker.”

Mr Callinan said one area where positive change was almost guaranteed was in public ownership of state assets.

“For the past 12 years we have seen the LNP sell off the farm, with most of the profits going to their mates at the big end of town.

“The election result showed voters were tired of this endless privatisation.

“We can rest easy that at least two big state entities – Sydney Water and Essential Energy – are now off the sale table.

“Those two essentials – our power and water – will be in the hands of all of us, not a few greedy private companies.”

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