The Maritime Union of Australia says NSW Premier Mike Baird has broken his promise to consult with ferry workers before putting the iconic Stockton Ferry service out to private tender.
The Premier assured workers at a rally late last year that they and their union, the MUA, would be consulted with about their future.
They heard nothing - until this morning, when told the public ferry service was being put out to tender, and they would be forcibly transferred to the new private operator.
“This was a slap in the face to workers this morning,” says MUA Newcastle Branch Secretary Glen Williams.
“Many of them have dedicated their lives to this ferry service – some giving more than 30 years to delivering an efficient, top shelf public transport option to the people of northern Newcastle.”
“Mike Baird gave a commitment to workers - face to face - that there would be full consultation with them and the local community, but there has been absolutely nothing.
“To be treated in this way is appalling - it’s just another broken promise from Mike Baird.”
The MUA is calling for a 12 month freeze on any decisions to allow proper consultation to take place, and a State Government guarantee no services will be cut.
The Stockton Ferry provides a vital link between northern Newcastle and the City.
“Our concerns are not only about privatization but the forced transfer of the workforce to any new private operator,” Mr Williams said.
“In peak times the ferry is very well used, but in winter time it may not be, and that may bring into question the future of the ferry service if it is run by a private operator answering to its shareholders, instead of public needs.”
Contact: MUA Newcastle Branch Secretary Glen Williams 0401 271 740