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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

NSW Unions to stop work and rally over ALP Power Privatisation, Wednesday Feb 26

Unions in the NSW energy sector have voted to go ahead with a planned stopwork rally, at which thousands of workers will voice their opposition to the state government's plan to privatise power stations.

The community rally will be staged outside the NSW parliament to coincide with the resumption of sittings on February 26, Unions NSW Assistant Secretary Matt Thistlethwaite said."These workers, and indeed members of the community, do not support the sell-off of assets that belong to the people of NSW," he told reporters."We intend to send a strong message to the premier, and Labor MPs, that they must back off on this terrible sell-off proposal."

Mr Thistlethwaite said a skeleton crew would man the state's power stations and network maintenance to ensure no interruption to power supplies on the day.He called on members of other unions, and the broad community, to attend the rally, saying the government's privatisation plan would lead to higher electricity prices and job losses in the sector.

The NSW government has announced plans to lease out the state's power stations and sell all but the "poles and wires" assets of the state's electricity agencies, saving the state $15 billion.The plan includes offering long-term leases to private companies to operate the Eraring, Macquarie and Delta baseload plants.

Unions have also voted to stage campaigns in 15 key marginal Labor-held seats to oppose the sell-off.

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