Unions will consider striking over plans to cut 10,000 public sector jobs in NSW.
Only police, teachers and nurses will be shielded from the job losses, which are the expected consequence of a new labour expense cap.
Treasurer Mike Baird flagged the cuts, due over the next four years, in Tuesday’s state budget.
The NSW government estimates it can save $2.2 billion through the plan – contributing to a forecast surplus in 2013-14.
But Unions NSW, the umbrella group with 67 affiliate organisations and 600,000 members, is furious and says it will now discuss industrial action.
“We will continue to campaign as we always have over these cuts – out there amongst the community and also taking political action,” Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon told reporters in Sydney.
“We will discuss what appropriate action may be taken at an industrial level as well.
“We will never rule out any type of action when we’re mounting these sorts of campaigns.”
The 10,000 job losses come on top of 5000 public sector jobs axed in last year’s state budget.
Mr Lennon said the state government was out of control and that front-line services would end up suffering.
There is also a question mark over the future of firefighters’ jobs and the Fire Brigades Employees’ Union (FBEU) says a planned $30 million cut to Fire and Rescue NSW’s budget will impact services.
“That either means we cop a three per cent wage cut or we see firefighters’ jobs go,” FBEU secretary Jim Casey said.
“Either is unacceptable for us, we’re not going to go backwards.”