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    Workers protest against O'Farrell in Penrith

    Posted: Tuesday, 12 July 2011 | By: Andrew McDonald

    More than 350 nurses, police officers, fire fighters, teachers and public sector workers have marched through Penrith protesting against the O'Farrell Government's industrial relations laws – on the day the Premier marks his 100th day in office.

    Shadow Health Minister, Dr Andrew McDonald and Shadow Industrial Relations Minister, Sophie Cotsis supported the public sector workers at today's protest.

    "More than 350 nurses, police officers, fire fighters, health workers, teachers, school assistants and public sector workers have marked the O'Farrell Government's first 100 days by protesting against the Premier's unprecedented industrial relations laws," Dr McDonald said.

    "Mr O'Farrell's 100th day in office was last Monday – the biggest thing Barry O'Farrell has done since becoming Premier is ripping away the rights of public sector workers.

    "Under the O'Farrell laws, the public sector workers our community relies on will not be allowed wage increases above 2.5 per cent unless employee related productivity savings are delivered first.

    "With inflation currently sitting at 3.3 per cent, the Government is essentially forcing these workers to accept cuts in conditions and standards just so they can receive a pay increase to help meet the rising cost of living.

    "This is simply unacceptable – research has shown that if these laws were implemented 10 years ago nurses would be $12,000 a year worse off.

    "The O'Farrell Government should be supporting our nurses, police officers, fire fighters and other public sector workers - not forcing them to trade off basic conditions so they can meet the rising cost of living."

    "Under the changes public sector workers will have no access to a genuine independent umpire – with the Industrial Relations Commission forced to do the Government's bidding," Ms Cotsis said.

    "Barry O'Farrell didn’t tell the people of NSW he would slash the rights of workers in his 100 Day Action Plan – yet industrial relations changes have dominated his first 100 days.

    "The Premier and his Ministers have already ignored the 12,000 teachers, nurses, fire fighters, police officers, bus drivers and other public sector workers who rallied against these changes outside Parliament House last month.

    "Today's protest sends a very clear message to the O'Farrell Government that the workers our community relies on will not idly stand by while their rights and conditions are ripped away."

    Tags: Andrew McDonald, Barry O'Farrell, Industrial relations, NSW WorkChoices, Sophie Cotsis, Western Sydney

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