While billionaires and big corporations reap record profits, the cost of living has skyrocketed and workers’ pay and conditions have gone backwards.
The Greens will give working people more rights, increase wages and guarantee the right to strike.
Our public sector workers – including nurses, midwives, health workers, paramedics, teachers, university staff, and transport and front line workers - have been on the frontline of crisis after crisis, working tirelessly to keep us safe.
Workers deserve more than thanks, but the Liberal National Government’s cruel public sector wage freeze means public sector wages aren’t keeping up with rising inflation and the cost of living.
The Greens know that our public sector workers, and all working people, need better rights, higher pay and more secure work. Working people need to be safe at work.
The Greens will overhaul the unfair wage freeze. We will mandate staff to patient ratios in hospitals, fix chronic staff shortages in schools, take urgent intervention to alleviate unreasonable workloads, and properly resource our schools, hospitals, public services and on our public transport systems.
Improved conditions and wages aren’t won easily, and the Greens will always support the right of workers to take industrial action, go on strike, collectively bargain, and withhold labour. We will protect the right to strike.
Many workers are in insecure and irregular work with no rights to award wages, secure jobs and decent conditions. They are marginalised and deserve fair wages and rights. All workers, including migrant and temporary workers must have the same workplace rights as other workers.
With better rights for working people we can build a more sustainable, equitable and democratic future.
THE GREENS NSW WILL:
Abolish the public sector wage caps and act on workers' demands
Teachers, nurses and midwives, paramedics, aged care workers and childcare workers were at the frontline during the pandemic and are still working under unacceptable conditions with inadequate staff numbers and wages.
Some of the most underpaid and precariously employed workers in our state are women, young people, recent migrants and disabled people - and so often it is these people who are providing the most critical services to our community. They deserve better pay, conditions and protection in law. These are essential for safe workplaces and for the safety of everyone relying on their services.
We know the pressure on public sector workers cannot continue and we are committed to listening to the demand of those on the frontlines. We have a long track record backing teachers, academics, support staff - who have shamefully had their conditions and job security slashed over decades of underfunding and privatisation.
Over the years, as a result of action by the NSW Liberal National Government the Industrial Relations Commission has lost some of its key powers and independence. If we want the IRC to be an independent umpire for industrial matters it is critical that we disentangle its composition and functions from government policy, including an independent selection process for appointing Commissioners to the IRC.
Support Collective Organising and the right to strike
The right to organise and to strike is core to workers rights - rights that previous generations of workers fought hard to achieve. Our rights at work have never been handed to us.
Whether it’s workers compensation, the eight-hour working day, penalty rates or leave entitlements like sick leave, parental leave and public holidays - or the ongoing struggle for equal pay - workplace rights have always been hard fought and won.
Teachers, nurses and midwives, transport workers, early childhood educators, university staff, and public sector workers in NSW all walked off the job over the last year demanding their rights at work - increases in pay, better conditions, an end to staff shortages and more resources. The Greens stood in solidarity then and will stay committed to defending workers rights and the right to strike for all workers in NSW.
In NSW there is no guaranteed right to strike or to take industrial action with harsh penalties imposed for any actions which are not protected industrial actions.
Rather than take action to address the growing discrepancies in wages and conditions in our community, the Liberal National Government has chosen instead to introduce an anti-strike bill with huge fines for unions that take industrial action - and anti-protest laws that criminalise protests. This dangerous knee jerk reaction is typical of a right wing government that’s stripped down the wages and working conditions of huge numbers of workers in this state over many years.
Instead of whacking unions with big fines, this government must fix the conditions that are pushing our teachers, nurses and public sector workers to strike in the first place.
The Greens will always defend the right to organise and to strike as well as the right to protest - rights which have been eroded by the Liberal National government.
The Greens will repeal all laws in NSW that penalise and criminalise nonviolent collective action taken by unions, workers or activists.
Secure work for the arts
For far too long governments have ignored the vital importance of the arts in our society. Our artists, musicians and actors already struggled to make a stable income before the pandemic decimated our creative arts industry. While other industries were getting financial support, workers in the creative arts were left stranded, many having to declare bankruptcy and leaving the industry altogether.
The Greens will invest in our culture, stories, arts and live music with long term funding arrangements and create secure well paid jobs by acknowledging that work in the creative industries is real work.