Nearly 1000 United Voice members from schools and hospitals rallied at Parliament House today, protesting against Colin Barnett’s Workplace Reform Bill.
Members are angry that Colin Barnett signed their EBA not even a year ago, but has now written a law which makes it easier for employees to be sacked and stripped of other conditions such as retraining and redeployment.
Brian, a school gardener, said he was angry at how easily Barnett could walk away from an agreement he had already signed.
“How the bloody hell can he walk away from an agreement he signed with us?” he asked.
“He’s being nothing more than a dictator.”
Allan, a hospital orderly, has a hearing disability and in the past has found it hard to find work.
He is worried that if his job is privatised, he will not have a secure position.
“I’m a person with a disability who works in public health and I don’t feel secure in my job,” he said.
“Is there any guarantee that people with disabilities, like me, are going to be protected under a private ward?
“Can they promise that people with disabilities that currently work in the government health sector, would they be treated as equally if they worked in a private ward?”
Patient Care Assistant Lee called on Colin Barnett to give people a fair go and to put money where it’s needed the most; into schools and hospitals, not projects like Elizabeth Quay.
“It’s bad enough that our hospitals are under siege and the work we do is tough. They don’t call it essential services for nothing,” he said.
United Voice Secretary Carolyn Smith questioned whether Colin Barnett would break a legal contract with big business.
“If he signed a legal document with Chevron and BHP would he change the law to override it?
“So why should he change the law to override a commitment he made to you, the people who clean our hospitals and schools and who educate our kids?
“Come on Colin, keep your word.”
Colin Barnett declined repeated requests to meet with our members.