A PROPOSED strike by the Public Service Association is nothing more than a backlash against a change in government member for Orange Andrew Gee said.
The association will hold a four-hour stop work meeting on October 8.
The workers claim the NSW government wants to slash public service workers entitlements such as leave loading, penalty payments and carers’ leave.
Mr Gee said public servants will not be forced to give up any entitlements.
“It’s just scaremongering,” he said.
“The government has changed hands, in years gone by the unions were effectively controlling government.”
Public Service Association central west regional organiser Cassandra Coleman said the government lodged an application with the Industrial Relation Commission to slash workers’ conditions and benefits. She said the radical cuts include cutting 17.5 per cent of leave loading.
“So for the average worker that is a loss of $1000 a year off their pay packet and for the Orange electorate that is a possible loss of up to $860,000 a year out of the local economy,” she said.
“That is a lot of hair cuts, cappuccinos or beers at the pub.”
Mr Gee rejected the accusations. He said public service workers will receive a pay rise of 2.5 per cent. Inflation up to the June quarter was 1.2 per cent.
“If the unions want pay rises above the minimum 2.5 per cent if they agree to it they can trade off other benefits for an increase in wages but nobody is forcing them,” Mr Gee said.
Mrs Coleman said about 80 per cent of Orange High School support staff would be attending the stop work meeting.
A Department of Education spokesperson said arrangements had been made to cover the striking staff. The spokesperson said all services would remain the same.
Public Service Association stop work convener Bernard Fitzsimon said it took a serious issue for the association to consider industrial action.
“We don’t go out on stop work meetings at the drop of a hat.”
There are 860 public servants in Orange.