Electrical workers across Australia will today join protests around the country as part of their
fight against the privatisation of publicly-owned assets, according to the Electrical Trades Union.
ETU members, who have been fighting against proposals to sell off electricity networks and other essential services, will be targeting Joe Hockey over his use of $5 billion of taxpayers money to attempt to bribe state governments to privatise assets.
They will join tens of thousands of Australians in cities and towns around the country, protesting against Tony Abbott and the Coalition Government’s attacks on public assets, skills training and workplace rights.
ETU national secretary Allen Hicks said power workers had been at the forefront of the community campaign in Queensland that toppled Campbell Newman over his privatisation plans, and were leading the fight to protect income-generating assets in New South Wales.
“The Australian community is overwhelmingly opposed to the privatisation of essential services such as electricity, yet Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey refuse to listen,” Mr Hicks said.
“Instead of accepting the will of the people, the Coalition Government is using taxpayers’ money to hand out up to $5 billion dollars in bribes to states that sell assets.
“Rather than pushing their ideological agenda against publicly-run services, the Liberals and Nationals should put that same money into infrastructure projects around the country.”
Mr Hicks said ETU members in Victoria and South Australia had seen first hand the decimation to jobs, services and training that occurred when power assets were sold in their states.
“Our members know first hand about the failures of past privatisations, which is why they are fighting so hard to protect the community in other states from a similar fate,” he said.
“Rather than push the agenda of big business, the Abbott Government needs to focus on improving job creation, boosting skills training, and increasing local manufacturing."
“Instead they want to sell everything that isn’t nailed down, attack basic workplace rights, undermine wages and conditions, and hand even more power to employers."
“Our members are marching today to make clear that they won’t accept that lying down.”
Further information: Tim Vollmer — 0404 273 313