Albury public servants take fight to O’Farrell

MORE than 120 state public servants worried about their jobs and working conditions sacrificed a morning’s pay to attend an Albury rally against the NSW government yesterday.

A four-hour stopwork hit schools and several state offices but most were still able to operate.

At Albury court house, three non-union members were able to help magistrate Tony Murray conduct the usual Local Court but the registry was closed to the public until 1pm while six staff attended the stopwork.

Unionists at the packed rally at the Commercial Club voted unanimously to support further statewide industrial action to be determined by the Public Service Association.

They voted after watching a webcast from Sydney Town Hall to 46 similar rallies across the state.

Union delegate Linda Barclay, who chaired the rally, said the turnout from the Albury district was encouraging.

“We’ve also had people here who want to join the union,” she said.

About 80 were women from departments such as community services or working in school support roles, including a group from Corowa.

A Corowa High School staff member, Lyn Willett, said she was dismayed the union had to take strong action against the O’Farrell government’s policies.

“I’ve taken part in strikes over 40 years that achieved the conditions we now have — the conditions the government is trying to take away from us,” she said.

The Albury resolution was mirrored across the state, with the union claiming 40,000 members had taken part.

The union calls on the government to halt job cuts in the public sector, restore the “no forced redundancies” policy and allow the Industrial Relations Commission to award fair wages without regard to the government’s 2.5 per cent-a-year cap.

Ms Barclay said recent workers compensation laws that cut benefits to injured workers should also be repealed.

She said it was outrageous that the legislation referred to injured parties as “offenders” but it reflect the government’s attitude to workers.

The Albury rally applauded speakers who said “the government is slashing jobs and removing entitlements” after breaking pre-election promises.

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