THE Premier, Barry O'Farrell, has warned the union movement that taking industrial action will lead the state government to consider outsourcing public sector jobs, saying there will be ''consequences'' for ''industrial thuggery''.
Mr O'Farrell attacked the public sector in a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, saying it had failed to improve services, and cited Sydney Water as one organisation where efficiencies might be made.
''Public providers have been shielded from the reality of markets and of people's expectations,'' he said.
Later at a news conference, he issued a warning to Sydney Water workers, who are engaged in a dispute with management about their new enterprise bargaining agreement and have threatened strikes.Advertisement
''What I'm saying to them, what I'm saying to others, is be careful about what you're doing because if the private sector can deliver it at a better standard, or the same standard, at a cheaper price we are duty-bound as a government to consider that,'' Mr O'Farrell said. ''Don't engage in industrial thuggery and think there are no consequences.''
The secretary of the Australian Services Union, Sally McManus, said it was the Premier who was engaging in ''thuggery''.
''For the NSW Premier to threaten workers' jobs just because they're standing up for their basic rights and the community's vital services is disgraceful and he should apologise to the workers for his comments,'' she said.
Some outsourcing of work previously performed by public servants has already taken place at Forests NSW, Sydney Water and in community services, and has been foreshadowed at state-owned electricity companies.
A Sydney Water paper, leaked last week, raised new fears about further outsourcing of services and jobs. The paper, which the Herald understands was several months old, said the organisation would ''become a more 'professional services' organisation that manages significant contracts'' as it outsourced ''more and more of the lower-level work to the private sector''.
In response to those fears, Sydney Water issued a memo to staff stating that while it was going ahead with already-announced plans to outsource its electrical/mechanical maintenance workforce, it would retain civil and operations work in-house.
The memo said the organisation would find other efficiencies in order to ''meet the market and beat the market''.
The managing director of Sydney Water, Kevin Young, told the Herald last week there were no other outsourcing proposals but ''our workforce will be retained where they can meet market conditions and offer best value for Sydney Water's customers''.
O'Farrell continues to bully workers.
Here we have another Union exercising their democratic and legal right to withdraw labour, being threatened by the NSW Premier.
He speaks of 'industrial thuggery', but he uses 'political thuggery'.
Shame Barry, Shame.
Make this NSW Coalition Govt a one term Govt,.