Main roads workers to strike for first time in 20 years

By: Chris Smith

Members of the Queensland Public Sector Union in the Department of Main Roads are walking out on strike today for

Members of the Queensland Public Sector Union in the Department of Main Roads are walking out on strike today for the first time in 20 years, as part of the escalating campaign for a fair public sector wages increase.

The 24-hour stoppage will affect approximately 1,000 infrastructure workers in all areas of the Department across Queensland, from engineering crews to central and regional offices.

The strike will is affecting work on major projects across Queensland, such as the Ipswich Motorway and Bruce Highway upgrades, and the Gateway Bridge duplication.

This action is taking place at the same time that health workers around the state are voting to reject Premier Anna Bligh’s 3.25 percent wage offer.

QPSU General Secretary Alex Scott says public sector workers are angry the government’s wage offer will not keep up with their rising cost of living.

"We’re campaigning because public sector workers should not have to bear more than their fair share of the pain from price increases. At 5.1 percent, inflation in Brisbane is higher than any other capital city in Australia, and it continues to rise faster than the government has predicted.

"Our members will not accept a real wages cut at a time when prices are rising, and we will be using whatever tools are necessary – political action, industrial action, and community pressure – to make the Premier and the Treasurer take their heads out of the sand", Scott says.

Scott says that unless the government revised its wages policy soon, a campaign of industrial stoppages across Main Roads and other government departments would continue.

"Main Roads workers already are facing wages well below the private sector standard, and this government offer makes the situation worse. If this government wants to take infrastructure building seriously, it should deal fairly with its workforce," he says.

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