NSW Govt working with unions to ‘insulate’ State workers from WorkChoices

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NSW Govt working with unions to ‘insulate’ State workers from WorkChoices

The NSW State Government is in consultation with a leading public service union in an attempt to ‘insulate’ State employees from the Federal Government’s WorkChoices legislation.

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The NSW State Government is in consultation with a leading public service union in an attempt to ‘insulate’ State employees from the Federal Government’s WorkChoices legislation.

The Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, told State Parliament yesterday that the Government has already had discussions with senior officials of the Australian Services Union, which covers the majority of State local government workers.

He said the Government is committed to doing ‘anything within the public interest to prevent the worst aspects of the WorkChoices legislation affecting the rights and entitlements of working people’.

‘We are going to try to insulate as many people, as many families, as we can from the dreadful consequences of this obnoxious legislation,’ Della Bosca said.

‘This involves … protecting our employees in the State system and securing their positions in respect of employment entitlements and rights and their capacity to go to a fair umpire if there any disputes.’

State owned corporations etc

He said other initiatives that the Government is seriously considering relate to the rights and entitlements of those currently employed directly by the Government through State-owned corporations and other forms of employment.

‘Those matters are much more complicated, and much more legally complex,’ Della Bosca said.

‘They are the subject of ongoing discussions between those employees and the boards of the various State-owned corporations.

‘Those matters are concluded in principle; we have resolved to provide the best protection we can for everybody.’

Local government

Della Bosca said the Government had taken initiatives to look at the broader statutory protections for the general community, including local government employees.

‘I had some discussions recently with some senior officials of the Australian Services Union, which covers the vast majority of local government employees.

‘I have undertaken to continue to have discussions with the Minister for Local Government, Kerry Hickey, and attempt to find ways, without taking any liability for the State Government or overly complicating the employment arrangements for local government and the employees themselves, to underline some protection for them from the Howard Government’s WorkChoices legislation.

‘The Government is very advanced in respect of a number of these matters. Many of the issues are complicated and will not be easy to resolve, but we are determined to provide the maximum protection we can from this obnoxious legislation for as many people as possible.’

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