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Union responds to wage reforms and tell MP:

Monday, 6th June, 2011

Danny O’Connor Danny O’Connor

'Reject or resign'

The Barrier Industrial Council has called on local MP John Williams to vote against the NSW Government's proposed public sector wage reforms or resign.

Under the government's changes, the Industrial Relations Commission would lose its power to set public sector wage rises which would be capped at 2.5 per cent with any higher increases to be matched by savings.

BIC President Danny O'Connor said public servants would be severely affected by the legislation which unions have labelled the NSW version of Work Choices.

"With the proud history Broken Hill has always had in fighting for workers rights this proposed legislation just flies in the face of everything that John

Williams should be standing for if he wants to represent this great place," Mr O'Connor said.

"How he can sit back and say nothing for teachers, nurses, fire brigade, ambulance, police and other public servants who work hard and as a minimum expect to take home to their families a pay packet that is at least keeping pace with inflation is beyond comprehension.

"Where is the commitment that he gave before the election where he stated on more than one occasion that he would cross the floor of Parliament if anyone he represented was shafted by his government? 

"Well now is your chance John, and while you are crossing the floor you can think of all the NSW public servants who voted and handed out for you at the last election."

Mr O'Connor said if Mr Williams believed that public servants should be restricted to 2.5%, and the other conditions attached, then he should be prepared to resign or accept the same conditions.

"After all he is a public servant, who is paid out of the same purse as all other public servants in NSW.

"Or are you John, just another hypocrite/politician who says one thing and does another."

Mr Williams could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The government on Saturday invoked a provision that has not been used since 1906 to guillotine debate on its public sector wage reforms, which began on Wednesday and had dragged on into the weekend.

Premier Barry O'Farrell said he was not going to put up with members of parliament "abusing the process simply to play political games."

"The rules are the rules, and it's a bit rich for the Greens and the Labor party to be complaining about archaic rules when they used archaic filibustering rule to try and avoid a debate on an important bill," Mr O'Farrell told Sky News yesterday.

The NSW upper house is one of the few chambers in the country that doesn't have speaking time limits, Mr O'Farrell said.

"It was being abused by Greens and Labor supporters," he said.

The O'Farrell government will be one of "tough decisions", the premier added.

"We will be a government that protects the public interest, we will be a government that seeks to deliver those service."

As well as invoking standing order 99 for the first time since 1906, the government put pressure on the upper house to come to a vote on the bill by restricting debate on 200-odd Labor and Greens amendments, and threatening lockouts to prevent them leaving the chamber.

After a committee process lasting all day, in which the only successful amendment was one from the Shooters Party exempting local government workers, a final vote on the bill was adjourned to the next sitting day on June 14.

"This was a four page piece of legislation that had been debated for 29 hours, with speeches up to six hours, so we're not going to put up with members of parliament abusing the process simply to play political games," Mr O'Farrell said.

"The people elected a new government in March to get on and fix this state, we're determined to do so."

Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon on Saturday said the government would be held to account for its industrial changes.

AAP understands unions will be meeting over the next couple of days to decide what further action to take, with a source saying the campaign against the bill is set to escalate. BDT/AAP

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