North Coast Action Group: Feedback from candidate meetings - Public Service Association

North Coast Action Group: Feedback from candidate meetings

Late last year, members of the North Coast action group, Janet Cavanaugh (a local delegate in DPE) and Mik Smart (PSA), met with Mr. Richie Williamson in Grafton, to discuss several issues currently impacting on members across this region, specifically the major impact the unfair NSW Public Sector wages cap is having on workers.

Mr Williamson is the Nationals candidate for the seat of Clarence in the upcoming NSW state election, and a former mayor of the Clarence Valley.

The meeting with Mr Williamson covered some of the current PSA campaigns including the PSA’s fight to have the wages cap for the Public Service removed. Mr Williamson noted that both of his parents were public servants as is his wife and identified the public sector as still the largest employer in the the Clarence Valley despite job losses to Coffs Harbour. While Mr Williamson stated his support for the Public service and recognised the importance for their work, he stopped short of making any commitment to have the wages cap removed.

We would like to remind members that the national party supported the wages cap when it was originally presented to parliament and has done nothing to remove it, allowing your wages to fall behind to inflation. 

Mr Williamson stating that he was unaware of the proposed changes, to the Industrial Relations legislation, that would dramatically increase the penalties for industrial action in defiance of orders from the Industrial Relations Commission. He requested a copy of these be forwarded to him.

Mr Williamson was asked whether he would support the PSA’s ongoing fight with SERCO to have wages and conditions improved for the members currently employed at the Clarence Correctional Centre. Mr Williamson agreed that workers were being grossly underpaid by SERCO but he would not be further drawn on his position, of how this should be addressed.

Members of the North Coast action group, Janet Cavanaugh and Mik Smart  also met with Dr Leon Ankersmit, the Labor candidate aiming to contest the seat of Clarence during the March state elections.

Dr Ankersmit spoke of his support for the public service and acknowledged that the removal of the current highly restrictive wage cap could only improve the conditions for thousands of public servants and provide a significant financial injection to the local economy. Dr Ankersmit acknowledged that while as “only one person he could not personally remove the wage cap, he would take the request to the senior members of the party”.

Mr Ankersmit acknowledged that proposed amendments to the Industrial relations legislation would certainly hamper any attempt by unions to lobby for better conditions and wages, asking for a copy of the proposed amendments to be forwarded to him.

Mr Ankersmit also acknowledged the PSA’s ongoing enterprise bargaining with SERCO to have wages and conditions improved for the members currently employed at the Clarence Correctional Centre, indicating that his vison for the area is to seek increased services and  industry,with proper wage provision for employees.

In the lead up to the NSW election to be held on 25 March, the PSA is campaigning for the overturning of the NSW Government’s wages policy, putting an end to privatisation of the NSW Public Sector and for greater job security for NSW Public Sector workers.

Real Jobs Real Wages Webinar 21 February at 4:00pm

Join the REAL JOBS REAL WAGES North Coast Webinar on the 21 February at 4pm.

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If you’d like to be involved with our North Coast Campaign Action Group please contact any of the following Regional Organisers:

Rebecca Reilly 
Michael Smart 




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