Saturday, February 23, 2008


Red News Readers,

How else are they going to keep the numbers down so they can say the Rally wasn't a success?

Jenny Haines

Iemma bans workers from protest

By Simon Benson, dtm

February 23, 2008 12:00am

PREMIER Morris Iemma has slapped a ban on the state's 300,000 public servants attending a planned protest against electricity privatisation outside Parliament House on Tuesday.

Director-general of the Premier's Department Robyn Kruk sent a circular to all state public service managers telling them to dock the pay of any worker who took the day off to protest.

In a move compared to the Howard government's attempts to thwart opposition to WorkChoices, the circular included a ban on lunch breaks longer than one hour, sick leave without a medical certificate, and flex time.

Unions NSW has organised a rally to picket Parliament House on Tuesday when MPs return for the first sitting day of the year.

All public servants have been encouraged to attend the rally, but only state-employed workers in the electricity sector are planning to conduct an official "stop work".

However, fearing many MPs may be pressured to hold the picket line, Mr Iemma has tried to kill off the rally by threatening to take action against any public servant who attends.

"Employees who absent themselves from work within the core times on February 26 . . . will not be paid for any time lost," Ms Kruk warned in the memo sent to all agencies.

"Please ensure that there are arrangements in place to ensure that staff who are absent from the workplace without approval are not paid for the period of the absence. This circular applies to all public service departments."

Anyone who failed to show up at work for the day would be reported to management so their pay could be docked.

But the unions warned legal action could follow.

"These are the types of intimidatory tactics which the Howard government used against federal public servants," Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said.

"The Federal Court ruled these tactics were illegal."

Public Service Association (PSA) general secretary John Cahill wrote to Ms Kruk telling her to correct her original memo because it was based on a false premise that a general stop work had been called.