Defiant Illawarra public service workers will push ahead with illegal strike action today despite an appeal by the NSW government to put an end to the mass stoppages.
Almost 1800 Illawarra public service workers will defy an Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) ruling and walk off the job between 9am and 1pm to protest State Government cuts to public sector jobs and conditions.
The workers - many of whom work in child protection, aged care, disability and school support - are among some 34,000 Public Service Association of NSW (PSA) members to stop work and attend mass meetings at 40 locations statewide, including the Steelers Club in Wollongong.
Yesterday PSA regional organiser Tony Heathwood said members had strongly rejected calls by the Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations Mike Baird to abide by the IRC ruling and halt the strike action, labelling the appeal "two-faced".
"The government only wants us to accede to the orders of the IRC when it suits them," Mr Heathwood said.
"We don't have that option of approaching the IRC any more in relation to our wages.
"So I think that's a bit two-faced for the government to expect us to abide by the ruling of the IRC when they sidelined the whole body from the decision-making process in relation to public service wages," he said.
Several hundred workers are expected to attend the Steelers Club meeting, from 10am , to voice their opposition to mass public sector job cuts, budget cuts, frozen wage increases and proposed changes to awards and working conditions.
Their complaints include $1.7 billion cuts to education funding, $2 billion cuts to health services and hospitals, reductions in protection and compensation as a result of WorkCover cuts, the closure of Grafton jail, increased TAFE fees and TAFE course cuts.
Mr Heathwood said the illegal strike action was a last resort for members, who feel they have been left with no other alternative.
"The members are just fed up with the attitude of this government towards the services they provide, towards the resources that they provide our members to deliver those services and to their attitude towards the pay and conditions of our members," he said.
"Clearly the government is not prepared to give way on the major issues and as such we're left with no alternative."
On Friday Mr Baird said he would continue to meet the PSA to discuss their concerns and negotiate with them in good faith.