Reject Baillieu’s attack on public sector workers

November 14, 2011

Socialist Alliance Victoria released the statement below on November 14.

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Support nurses, teachers, and state public sector workers — reject the Baillieu government’s bullying tactics

Before Ted Baillieu’s Coalition state government was elected, Baillieu made many promises. He said he would not do anything extreme like the Kennett coalition government of the 1990s.

He said he would make Victorian teachers the best paid in Australia. He said he would keep the nurse-patient ratios that the Australian Nursing Federation had won through hard battles.

Many workers voted for Baillieu in disgust at the pro-corporate agenda of the Brumby Labor government, only to find that the Baillieu government has a similar pro-corporate agenda.

What has been Baillieu’s record?

• Offering state public sector workers only a 2.5% pay rise, well below inflation. This amounts to a pay cut.

• Abandoning his promise to keep “nurse patient ratios in their current format and as supported in current agreements”.

The Sunday Age has revealed a secret plan by the Baillieu government to encourage industrial action by nurses so they would be forced into arbitration. The government planned to cut jobs and replace some nurses with low-skilled “health assistants”.

• Threatening to slash 1758 nursing and midwifery positions out of the public health system and close 800 beds by 2016.

• Abandoning his promise to make Victorian teachers the best paid in Australia.

• Introducing building industry inspectors to prevent building workers from taking industrial action.

Statewide day of action

Nurses and state public sector workers should be congratulated for standing up to bullying and intimidation from the state government.

Nurses, teachers and state public sector worker campaigns are critical in preventing governments from cutting our health services, schools and other public services.

It is also a fundamental human right for workers to be able to take industrial action to support their campaigns. Without the right to strike, workers have no rights against bullying employers.

It is good to hear ANF state secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick say: “Nurses and midwives will not buckle to the Baillieu government’s threatening actions.”

A solidarity campaign is needed to support the nurses and state public sector workers who are taking industrial action.

The Victorian union movement needs to show that it rejects the bullying tactics of the Baillieu government and will stand in support of the nurses and other state public sector workers with a statewide day of action.

Download a petition for a state-wide day of action in support of Victorian nurses, teachers and other public sector workers here.

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