Weekend rallies highlighting that no employer has the right to impose a wages outcome on employees will be held in the lead-up to the 2015 state election, Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon told Federation Council on February 15.
“Taking to the streets reinforces that this is an important issue for workers, an important issue for unionists and it’s an important issue for the community,” Mr Lennon said.
Industrial law implemented by the O’Farrell Government forces the Industrial Relations Commission to bring down decisions that are in accordance with the government’s public sector wages policy. In effect, this means that the employer’s position must always prevail. Unions NSW wants the legislative limits on arbitration over wages removed.
“No government or any employer has any right to impose a wages outcome on their employees,” Mr Lennon said.
He said workers should be able to partake in the industrial system and seek a fair wage outcome either through the bargaining system or through independent arbitration.
“Workers have to have the right to freely negotiate about their wages outcome,” he said.
Mr Lennon said that Unions NSW would engage in this year’s state wages policy review but would focus efforts on getting all politicians to sign a contract (see below), which includes backing public sector workers.
“They can only respect their workforce if they give the workforce the freedom to negotiate or arbitrate an independent wage outcome,” he said.
Jobs, Rights and Services contract
Candidates will be asked to commit to working to:
• invest in services
• look after public assets
• plan for the long-term
• back public sector workers
• govern for the common good.
Backing public sector workers is about: guaranteeing the existing rights of workers who provide services to the public and work to restore the right to access to an independent tribunal; no reduction in wages and conditions by contracting out of existing state public sector jobs to private sector companies; and working to restore rights to fair compensation for work-related injury or illness, including journey claims, which were removed in 2012.