MORE than 120 Orange public service workers attended a four-hour strike meeting yesterday to protest against changes to workers’ entitlements proposed by the state government.
Public Service Association (PSA) representatives claim the NSW government wants to slash entitlements such as leave loading, penalty payments and carers’ leave.
The group passed a resolution to conduct an ongoing political and industrial campaign to force the government to halt job cuts, restore the no forced redundancy policy and restore the power of the Industrial Relations Commission to award fair wage rises without an imposition of a 2.5 per cent cap.
Member for Orange Andrew Gee said he hoped workers in Orange held a minute reflection to be thankful to Premier Barry O’Farrell and Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner for the 36 new Trade and Investment jobs announced last week.
“Look at the jobs created with the linear accelerator, the drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre,” he said.
“In Orange we’re travelling pretty well.”
PSA member David Alsonso Love rejected Mr Gee’s statement. He said the new jobs announced for Orange were anything but new. He said the jobs went to people already employed in the department.
“They are positions that already exist they’ve just been reassessed and regraded,” Mr Alsonso Love said.
PSA organiser Bernard Fitzsimon said Mr Gee had his figures wrong. He said at least 19 jobs have already been lost in the public sector in Orange.
“We’ve already blown those figures out of the water,” he said.
“Mr Gee can fudge facts and dispense smoke and mirrors all he wants.”
Mr Fitzsimon said he knew more job cuts were to come. He said the Department of Primary Industries was currently restructuring three sections.
Mr Gee said the PSA had been foreshadowing job cuts in the Trade and Investment sector for months.
“We saw the wash-up of that with 36 new jobs,” he said.