The Smoke Clears

Aug 29, 2012
Essential Research

Once the smoke of misdirection clears, you can pretty much see the truth. John Howard may have gone off message—or least, Tony Abbott panicked enough about Howard’s call to go back to the pre-Fair Work days that he, Abbott, hurried to say, “oh, no, that was back then, we’re not for that”, even though he refuses to say what exactly he is planning when it comes to workers should he become prime minister. But, we know exactly what is on the mind of Abbott because his ideological sidekicks in state governments offer a pretty good roadmap.

Per the Sydney Morning Herald, we know that Barry O’Farrell is pretty much determined to bludgeon the wages and benefits of tens of thousands of people:

AT LEAST 80,000 NSW public sector workers are set to lose salary benefits and conditions under sweeping cuts to their awards.

The O’Farrell government yesterday confirmed it had applied to the NSW Industrial Commission this week to change 98 awards for public sector workers, including 1000 nurses who assist people with disabilities and those in aged-care facilities.

Clerical staff, librarians, parks and gardens staff, school administration assistants, regulatory inspectors and legal officers are also among those set to lose their entitlement to long-held conditions, including an annual leave loading of 17.5 per cent.

The government also plans to cut penalties for all shift workers and allowances for staff stationed in remote areas.

Some sick leave entitlements, flexible work arrangements and parental leave would also be affected by the changes.

Add to that the drip, drip, drip of job cuts O’Farrell is imposing and the picture is crystal clear. NSW Public Service Association’s General Secretary John Cahill terms O’Farrell’s  plans “a disgraceful further attack on the public sector workers”. What Abbott is trying to avoid are the details of what he will do because it is no coincidence that O’Farrell’s popularity has slid—people don’t like losing their jobs, and, actually, they don’t like hearing that their family members and neighbors are going to be axed, either.


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