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Fuming workers at Sydney Water will amp up their fight for better pay, with staff refusing to complete paper work and undertake essential work at major developments across NSW.

The latest escalation is part of a protracted six month dispute over improved pay and working conditions with both parties to meet again at the Fair Work Commission on Monday.

The ASU has called for a 6 per cent annual pay increase, rejecting a previous offer of an 11 per cent increase over three years, which includes a 4 per cent bump in the first year, plus a one-off cost-of-living payment of $2000.

Sydney Water workers voted to begin industrial action on October 19, which progressed this week to include refusing paperwork needed for development applications, and stopping work need to connect sewer and water mains at major housing and industrial developments.

This included sites at the Eastern Creek greenfield residential development, an urban release area at West Dapto, and an inner-city high rise development project.

From Monday, this will be expanded to the whole of the Sydney, Blue Mountains and Illawarra regions, affecting scheduled work at major developments like the Badgerys Creek Airport, Sydney Metro, and Barangaroo.

Workers will also place a bans on maintenance work, refuse to provide assistance or support for contractors, and stop repairs arising from contractor work.

Australian Services Union NSW & ACT secretary Angus McFarland flagged workers were prepared to resort to further actions that could result in further havoc across NSW.

“Make no mistake, if Sydney Water continues to say no and refuse to give its workers a fair deal on pay and conditions, there will be gridlock on development sites around the state,” he said.

“There are hundreds of major state projects and housing developments that will be delayed if these workers down tools.

“This can all be avoided if Sydney Water comes to the table with a reasonable offer.”

Sydney Water Managing Director Roch Cheroux says the wage offer is fair and reasonable.

He said employees at Sydney water were already the highest paid nationally, and claimed the Unions’ original demands of a 22 per cent pay rise could result in customers being slugged with an extra $60 on their water bill.

“The team at Sydney Water has been at the table since April but to no avail. We have tried everything to avoid these work bans and remain committed to ensuring services are maintained during the strike,” Mr Cheroux said.

Amid heightened negotiations, he’s promised customers measures would be taken to ensure any industrial action would not impact customers.

‘‘Our customers and staff remain our highest priority, the door remains open to unions to resolve the issue.”

However, Mr McFarland said workers were “frustrated and angry” with management, and had resorted to increasing industrial action “out of desperation”.

“They feel like there is no respect for them as the essential workers who continued to provide safe freshwater through Covid, bushfires and floods. They feel like Sydney Water just won’t listen to them.

“Taking industrial action is not something that they have done lightly.

“Our members at Sydney Water want to be treated with respect by their employer and have made a very reasonable claim for a fair pay rise, without losing their conditions.”

Read related topics:Sydney

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By Rahul

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