Local police officer Steve Pope, Police Association Northern Region executive member Tony King and president of the Police Association of NSW Scott Weber in front of the crowd at the public sector rally in Market Square yesterday.
Local police officer Steve Pope, Police Association Northern Region executive member Tony King and president of the Police Association of NSW Scott Weber in front of the crowd at the public sector rally in Market Square yesterday. JoJo Newby

Union gives working people a voice

THE new Clarence Valley Community Unions is giving workers back their voice, according to Tony King.

The spokesman described last month's inaugural meeting of the group as "very positive".

More then 40 local residents were at Grafton District Services Club on April 18 to commemorate the launch of the group which aims to promote the interests of working people throughout the Clarence Valley during times of economic insecurity.

Mr King said the union advocates for secure jobs, workplace rights and investment in better services.

Declaring the launch a success, he said gathering interest in the union was a positive reinforcement in a step towards winning more resources for the local community.

"This event was a chance for working people in the Clarence Valley to get organised and become active and fight for our jobs throughout difficult periods," he said.

"Local employment needs to be maintained and given priority.

"Recent decisions by the government in Sydney has had adverse effects on local government services and therefore implementing a serious negative impact on the community.

"Working people need a strong voice. That is why this union was formed."

At the meeting, Mr King said the uncertainty over numerous sectors and recent job losses in the previous year, including the closure of the Grafton abattoir,undermined the rights of working people.

In July 2011, Clarence Valley public sector workers protested against O'Farrell Government's new industrial relations laws which removed rights, conditions and wages of more than 400,000 public sector workers and represented a threatening attack on the provision of public services.

"Government cutbacks have pulled a lot of dollars out of the local community," Mr King said.

"We are being dictated by political parties based in Sydney.

"By creating the union we aim to keep local people informed and offer them a strong voice to ensure their jobs and workplace rights remain a priority."

Adam Kerslake, Unions NSW deputy assistant secretary, and Joan Lemaire, NSW Teachers Federation senior vice president, were among the guest speakers at the launch.

Mr King said further meetings will be held in upcoming months.



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