Industrial Relations


The Greens believe that a strong and vibrant union movement is a central component of a healthy democracy. Without the protection of a trade union, the remuneration and working conditions of all workers are diminished by the economic and industrial power of employers.

We will push for the rights of injured workers to receive full compensation for workplace injuries and the right of unions and unionists to take industrial action without legal impediment, to protect and promote their legitimate workplace interests.

The Greens campaign for greater security of employment for all workers. The NSW Greens are working to extend portable long service leave to all workers in NSW, and we are working with other States to get this on the national policy agenda.


WorkCover Inquiry

In July 2013 the Greens secured a crucial vote in the NSW Upper House which established a Parliamentary Inquiry into bullying within WorkCover, the organisation responsible for handling operational health and safety in workplaces across NSW, including claims of bullying and harassment.

The vote in support of the Greens motion to establish the inquiry came after a finding in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission that WorkCover had systematically bullied a senior employee out of his job. Read more.

Cuts to Workers Compensation

Industrial RelationsThe Workers Compensation Amendment Bill was rushed through the NSW Parliament in less than 72 hours. The final vote on it was taken at 2:40am early Friday morning, 22 June 2012. The Greens and the Opposition opposed it.

The Bill means that incapacitated workers will have their weekly benefits cut off, with most workers having a maximum entitlement to only 2.5 years of payments.  Many will be forced onto Centrelink benefits and into poverty.

The Bill was preceded by a sham Parliamentary Inquiry, dominated by the Shooters, CDP and Coalition, and which reported just 11 days after it was established. Any genuine inquiry would have taken at least 6 months. The committee received 353 detailed submissions and held public hearings over just three days.  Unsurprisingly, the Committee report called for savage benefit cuts.

While continuing to oppose the legislation, The Greens secured last-minute amendments that mean that fire-fighters and paramedics will be excluded from these savage cuts. Read more.

Attacks on the Public Service

Government legislation forced through in 2011 forces the Industrial Relations Commission to abide by government regulations, not only on wage rises, but also on other fundamental employment conditions such as hours of work and leave loading.

This strips the Commission of its role as a fair and independent arbiter of industrial disputes and also gives Barry O’Farrell complete power over how much public sector employees are paid and how they work.

Public sector wages are currently capped at 2.5 per cent, which is less than inflation.

Retaining the Union Right to Prosecute

The Coalition’s intention to severely undermine workplace safety in NSW was dealt a blow in mid-2011, with the NSW Upper House amending the government’s OHS Harmonisation legislation in key areas. One of the most important outcomes was retaining the union right to prosecute.

NSW is the first state to retain the union right to prosecute in the federal harmonisation process. This is testament to the collective spirit of workers across NSW. Read more.

Silicosis epidemic on track to become the new black lung

A creeping epidemic of lung disease that is killing young workers has been uncovered by the Parliamentary Inquiry into the operation of the NSW dust diseases scheme. The inquiry has found that the engineered stone products used particularly for kitchen and bathroom benches are implicated in new cases of potentially deadly silicosis in a rising […]

Grill the Ministers at Budget Estimates

It has been a busy year in NSW Parliament, and once again budget estimates are almost upon us. Hearings will be from Thursday 31 August to Friday 8 September 2017. We’d love to hear your thoughts about issues to raise and potential questions to ask. Budget Estimates happen once a year and are one of […]

Emergency Services Bullying Inquiry

We’ve spoken to many emergency service workers who want to put a submission into the current bullying inquiry, but have concerns about how making a submission might impact on their employment, and specifically that they have worries that making a submission may lead to them being bullied. The committee understands these concerns, and has a […]

Disgraceful decision by “Fair” Work Australia to slash penalty rates

“Fair” Work Australia’s decision to slash penalty rates for thousands of hospitality, retail and fast food workers is a disgraceful attack on workers’ rights. Workers depend on penalty rates to pay their bills and make ends meet, penalty rates are a fair and equitable recognition work being done during unsociable hours. The Greens will continue […]

Industrial Relations Amendment (Industrial Court) Bill 2016 [Legislation Debate]

This speech was delivered on 11.10.2016 in the NSW Upper House. You can read the full debate online here. On behalf of The Greens I state at the outset that we oppose the Industrial Relations Amendment (Industrial Court) Bill 2016. The objects of the bill are to amend the Industrial Relations Act 1996 to abolish […]

Electricity standoff: Baird must intervene to protect jobs and safety

Inaction from the Baird government and aggressive industrial tactics from Essential Energy have forced unions and employees to take unprecedented industrial action from next Monday. In the interests of safety and decency, the Greens NSW are calling on the Baird government to intervene and end the state-owned corporation’s ongoing attacks on the jobs and conditions of […]

Industrial Relations

Media release: NSW Parliament must act to save our steel industry

Media Release 8 April 2016 With the potential collapse of the Whyalla steelworks, the NSW Parliament must act to legislate a local steel procurement policy to ensure the viability of the Port Kembla steelworks, a facility that contributes $3.3 billion to the Illawarra and NSW economy each year. This means passing the Steel Industry Protection […]

Baird’s plan to privatise prisons – a risk to NSW democracy

The NSW Coalition’s plan to privatise the State’s prisons is a serious risk to the State’s democracy, putting in place a dangerous incentive for multi-national corporations to lobby and donate to any political party that will drive their profits by gaoling more citizens. Privatised prisons are no solution to the chronic overcrowding in the State’s prisons […]

Fairfax job cuts represent attack on quality journalism

The Greens NSW today expressed their support for Fairfax staff who are on strike until Monday following management’s decision to cut the equivalent of 120 full-time jobs. The losses will be felt in the Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms in the areas of News and Business. NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge and Industrial Relations spokesperson said: […]