• After 14 months NSW government backs down on heritage service sell-off
  • Government failed to consult and was forced to Industrial Relations Commission three time just to release information on proposed sale
  • CFMEU members instrumental in informing community of the real cost of privatisation

A victory against the privatisation agenda of the Baird government has been recorded by the Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU) after government abandoned plans to privatise the NSW Public Works Heritage Services.

Around 40 stone masons, scaffolders and roofers have been maintaining some of Sydney’s oldest buildings for over 20 years but in June 2015, Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet announced their jobs would be outsourced.

A very vocal, multifaceted campaign was run by the workers with their union, the CFMEU, which saw a petition being signed by thousands, workers speaking at their local council meetings and members of parliament from all sides being invited to visit the stonemasons and see the work they do first hand.

“It’s not just what we did, but the carry-on effects that we saw from our actions that I think made the difference,” CFMEU organiser Paul Connell said. “After signing our petitions, people would tell their friends, their families. Everyone was supportive of our campaign.” 

The union campaigned around the unique skills the workers have and what a loss to the community it would be if their jobs were privatised.

“The private sector doesn’t have the resources to train the next generation. Our heritage would be destroyed if it wasn’t for these workers,” Mr Connell said. “NSW Public Works Heritage Services needs to be maintained into the future, especially as more and more work needs to be done.”

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