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This past Thursday, 8 September 2011, several of the biggest unions in New South Wales called a one day strike and march to protest the Liberal Government’s proposed layoff of 5,000 workers across various government sectors. The government plans to cut support jobs, leaving front line jobs unaffected. The unions allege that this will lead to more work for front line staff that will now be required to do more of the paperwork and back of house activities. This would lead to either linger working hours or less attention to their primary duties. Of course this increased work load comes on the back of the Government capping annual pay rises to 2.5%, which is lower than the projected inflation rate, effectively meaning that workers take pay cuts each year. Below is a panoramic view of The Domain with all of the workers, it was an impressive sight.
I was quite lucky to be able to take my lunch break so that I had a chance to go see the rally. It was certainly impressive and quite a few of the people were very passionate about it. It was good to see all these people coming together as a group even though they were from such different jobs and parts of the state. Some of the unions represented were the firefighters, police, nurses, teachers, Sydney Ferries, State Transit Authority and among others. Below are a few photographs during the rally portion with several groups represented.
During the march in front of Parliament House, several of the Labour MPs came out to show support for the strike. Some of the participants were glad to see them, but not everyone. Some of the walkers hissed at the MPs and one man even yelled that it was the previous Labour Government’s fault they were in this mess because of how Labour screwed up so badly while in power that the Liberal Government was elected. Will O’Farell, NSW Premier, did not make an appearance but said he did listen to the speeches of the union organisers from his office.
Overall the whole day was very successful according to the union organisers, with the entire event being very peaceful. Below a group of firefighters leave Hyde Park which was the end of the march.