Workers unite to smash public sector pay cap, as research reveals shrinking incomes
Nurses and midwives joined other NSW public sector employees at Sydney’s Trades Hall over the weekend to call on the Perrottet government to remove the current wages cap policy.
The meeting, convened by Unions NSW and supported by affiliates representing health workers, teachers, transport workers and other public servants, demanded the oppressive wage cap be scrapped and allow public sector unions to negotiate for pay rises in line with the cost of living.
The current wage cap sits at 2.5%, while inflation has surged to 5.1%. On 6 June, the Perrottet government announced the cap would increase to 3% as part of the upcoming NSW budget , however, this figure remains well below current inflation numbers.
The meeting called for an immediate fix to staff shortages and excessive workloads; action on job security and workplace upskilling; and any further privatisation of essential services in the state to be ruled out.
A report by Professor Emeritus David Peetz was also released, indicating the public sector will be, on average, $6,156 worse off over the next three years if wages are not increased, commensurate with the cost of living.
The ‘Wage norms and the link to public sector salary caps’ report examined the escalating cost of living and retention crises for NSW public sector workers. It estimated incomes will shrink between $1,000 and $1,800 per year for the average NSW government employee.
Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey described the Perrottet government’s refusal to allow wage increases to match the cost of living as a “punishment” against essential workers.
“Our essential workers kept the state running throughout the most difficult two years in recent memory. Now as the cost of living surges 5.1%, they are being asked to accept a pay cut,” he said.
“That’s an odd way to thank people who have risked their lives for the rest of us.”