O'Farrell warns public sector workers

Mon July 16, 2012 7:01pm

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has warned that more public services could be outsourced if public sector workers engage in "industrial thuggery" by going on more strikes.

The warning comes less than two weeks after 1000 employees of Sydney Water held a rally in Parramatta against 300 job cuts.

"What I'm saying to them, what I'm saying to others, is be careful about what you're doing because if the private sector can deliver it at a better standard, or the same standard, at a cheaper price we are duty-bound as a government to consider that," Mr O'Farrell told reporters on Monday.

"Don't engage in industrial thuggery and think there are no consequences."

Earlier, Mr O'Farrell told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia luncheon in Sydney that the principle of market contestability, rolled out at Sydney Water and Roads and Maritime Services, would be expanded.

"Public providers have been shielded from the reality of markets and of people's expectations," Mr O'Farrell said.

"Public sector management has failed to create a process of measures ... to improve public services, which are a legitimate problem."

Mr O'Farrell said the government would consider outsourcing road maintenance work across Sydney.

"Consideration is being given to extend the principle of fully contested road maintenance ... in northern Sydney to all of Sydney," Mr O'Farrell said.

But the Australian Services Union NSW secretary Sally McManus said the managing director of Sydney Water Kevin Young had sent staff an email on Friday confirming that it had no plans to make more unannounced staff cutbacks.

Ms McManus said this meant Mr O'Farrell's threat was baseless.

"I reckon it's a bit of a beat-up," Ms McManus told AAP.

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