CFMEU stops heritage service sell off


The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has scored a victory against the privatisation agenda of the state Coalition government after it abandoned plans to privatise the NSW Public Works Heritage Services, UnionsNSW announced on September 2.

About 40 stonemasons, scaffolders and roofers have been maintaining some of Sydney’s oldest buildings for more than 20 years, but in June last year Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet announced their jobs would be outsourced.

A very vocal, multifaceted campaign was run by the CFMEU workers. It included a petition signed by thousands of people, workers speaking to local council meetings and members of parliament from all sides being invited to visit the stonemasons and see their work first hand.

“It’s not just what we did, but the carry-on effects that we saw from our actions that I think made the difference,” CFMEU organiser Paul Connell said. “After signing our petitions, people would tell their friends, their families. Everyone was supportive of our campaign.”

The union campaigned around the workers’ unique skills and the loss if their jobs were privatised.

“The private sector doesn’t have the resources to train the next generation. Our heritage would be destroyed if it wasn’t for these workers,” Connell said. “NSW Public Works Heritage Services needs to be maintained into the future especially as more and more work needs to be done.”

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.