‘Completely bloody-minded’: NSW unions furious over fine increases for illegal strikes

2 weeks ago 27

New South Wales Labor volition question to artifact moves by the authorities to dramatically summation fines for unions which instrumentality onslaught enactment not approved by the state’s concern relations commission, arsenic unions state the determination a “bloody-minded” onslaught connected workers.

Following months of concern quality betwixt the authorities and a scope of nationalist assemblage workers including nurses, teachers and obstruction workers, the NSW concern minister, Damien Tudehope, announced connected Thursday helium would determination to dramatically summation fines for onslaught enactment taken without support from the concern relations commission.

Unions person slammed the decision, which would spot them fined up to $55,000 for onslaught enactment taken successful defiance of IRC rulings. Fines of up to $27,500 would beryllium issued for each time aft that, portion unions which repeatedly breach orders would look fines of up to $110,000.

Currently unions wage fines of $10,000 for the archetypal time of unauthorised enactment and $5,000 a time aft that.

The caput of Unions NSW, Mark Morey, told the Guardian the projected measure was an affront to frontline workers specified arsenic nurses and teachers who had worked passim the pandemic.

“This is immoderate of the astir anti-democratic authorities I’ve ever seen,” Morey said.

“It’s wholly bloody-minded. The worst benignant of bullying of the workforce I’ve seen successful galore years.”

Following the government’s announcement that it would lift its arguable 2.5% wage headdress to 3%, unions including the Teachers Federation and Nurses and Midwives Union had held disconnected connected further concern enactment until aft the budget.

But erstwhile Tuesday’s fund did not see immoderate further wage increase, the caput of the teacher’s federation, Angelo Gavrielatos, instantly announced that nationalist and Catholic schoolhouse teachers would strike unneurotic for the archetypal clip connected 30 June.

While the caller fines volition not beryllium successful spot successful clip to screen that onslaught action, Gavrielatos told the Guardian that adjacent if the measure had passed his members “will not beryllium silenced”.

“Rather than taking enactment connected the teacher shortage it appears that the lone happening this authorities is funny successful taking enactment connected is aimed astatine silencing teachers, principals and their union,” helium said.

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Similarly the acting caput of the nurses union, Shaye Candish, said the determination was “hugely disappointing”.

While the authorities had said the measure was not aimed astatine curbing concern enactment – lone enactment which it calls “illegal” – Candish said her national had repeatedly raised concerns astir workforce issues with ministers without immoderate progress.

“We’ve tried to enactment with the government, we’ve met with [the wellness minister] Brad Hazzard, Damien Tudehope and the premier himself to effort and escalate our concerns and what we’ve ended up with is simply a fund that doesn’t supply nurses and midwives with the anticipation they request that the wellness work is stepping retired of the situation it is in.”

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Photograph: Tim Robberts/Stone RF

The Nurses and Midwives Union volition clasp a stop-work gathering adjacent Tuesday to determine whether to instrumentality further concern action, aft the authorities said it would besides springiness wellness workers a one-off $3,000 “thank you payment” successful summation to the 3% rise.

The national has not ruled retired further enactment due to the fact that cardinal concerns including a nurse-to-patient ratio person not been addressed by the government.

“It feels arsenic though they’re truly conscionable trying to soundlessness the workers who got up each time and worked during the pandemic, the ones politicians said convey you to each day,” she said.

“Our assemblage wouldn’t beryllium wherever it is without these workers, truthful it feels truly retired of measurement with wherever assemblage sentiment is.”

On Thursday Tudehope defended the move, telling reporters the determination was aimed astatine stopping unions “thumbing their noses” astatine orders from the IRC. He pointed to caller onslaught enactment taken by the Public Service Association successful which the IRC ordered immoderate workers not instrumentality portion successful the onslaught action, saying the national had failed to advertise that ruling to its members.

“We’re not averse to negotiating with the national movement, and successful information we privation to scope outcomes with the national movement, but we privation to bash truthful against a inheritance wherever those negotiations are being conducted wherever each the parties volition person respect for the arbiter and the orders which the arbiter makes successful respect of concern action,” helium said.

“Now, that is not excessively overmuch to ask. I would person thought that a tenable idiosyncratic would say, if a tribunal makes an order, determination should beryllium an anticipation that the parties comply with the presumption of that order.”

But the authorities whitethorn look an uphill conflict to get the measure passed done the NSW parliament, wherever it is presently successful minority, aft the Labor leader, Chris Minns, confirmed his enactment would reason the bill.

“When you’re successful a concern wherever you’re saying to nurses and teachers that you’re going to good them erstwhile they person concern disputes due to the fact that they accidental they can’t wage their mortgages owed to rising outgo of living, but you tin spend fractional a cardinal dollars positive expenses for John Barilaro, I deliberation radical would accidental determination ever seems to beryllium capable if you’re a subordinate of the National and Liberal enactment but ne'er capable if you’re a frontline worker,” helium said.

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