WA public sector unions present claims

Issue 

By Catherine Brown

PERTH — "More public sector jobs not less" demands the log of claims being served on the state ALP government by the combined government sector unions.

The log was adopted at a May 29 shop stewards' meeting.

"The issue we are dealing with is the decline of the public sector against privatisation. Privatisation by stealth is already taking place under this government", said Trades and Labor Council president John Gandini.

The stewards called on the government to expand the construction and maintenance public works program, particularly in areas of social benefit like hospitals, schools and low-cost housing; identify and develop new major works programs which have significant environmental, social justice and employment advantages; and to make a full and open disclosure to unions about all plans affecting employment levels.

Premier Carmen Lawrence, at the recent premiers' conference, criticised "the bloodless discussion about unemployment", yet at the same meeting asked for $150 million to pay off hundreds of public servants as part of her government's job-destroying voluntary redundancy scheme.

At the shop stewards' meeting, the question was raised as to whether the aim was to bring down the ALP government. "If the government does not end downsizing, it will bring itself down ... the Greiner cuts are already happening here", responded Paul Aslan, a Civil Service Association official.

An amendment to the official resolutions proposed a march and rally to Parliament House by government workers to coincide with presenting the log of claims. Despite an enthusiastic response to the amendment, officials opposing it managed to confuse the issue and ensure its defeat.

Despite the overwhelming sentiment for real action, the only "action" endorsed was dependent on the government's response, and even then a mass meeting was to be called only after a decision by the individual unions' management committees.