Union calls for end to NSW public sector wage cap in wake of interest rates hike

By Tom Ravlic

Wednesday May 4, 2022

Mark Morey
Union NSW secretary Mark Morey. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

Unions NSW is using the Reserve Bank of Australia’s interest rate increase to call for the removal of a 2.5% wage cap in New South Wales.

Union secretary Mark Morey said that the wage cap was discredited and was a way of keeping wages down in a climate where costs are rising.

He said that NSW premier Domenic Perrottet should remove the cap.

“Families across New South Wales have just had their finances deeply bruised. Dominic Perrottet needs to remove the handbrake on wages and allow pay to start rising to deal with this hit,” Morey said.

“Today, life just got significantly harder for nurses, paramedics, firefighters, teachers and all manner of public sector workers. The banks are about to take a big bite out of their take-home pay and until the wage cap is lifted there’ll be little relief in the form of higher wages.”

Morey said that the wage cap in the state’s government sector is also keeping wages down in the private sector.

“The wage cap must go now. The longer it stays in place the higher the risk of NSW losing key workers to other states where pyrites are easier to gain and the cost of housing is lower. The Reserve Bank governor has consistently said that the wage cap is holding back income growth,” Morey said.

“When NSW workers pay their next monthly mortgage repayment they need to remember that Dominic Perrottet is denying them the wage increases they need to cope.”

The rise in interest rates has also gotten responses from other representative bodies calling on political parties contesting the May 21 election to be mindful of the impact of these rate rises on the less advantaged in the community.

The Australian Council of Social Services said the next government needs to rule out harsh spending cuts in order to ensure that those people in most need continue to get essential services.

“The major parties should rule out brutal spending cuts like those in 2014 which would smother jobs growth. Essential services and safety nets are already seriously underfunded, and cuts would bring a swift end to progress in reducing unemployment. Strong investment in essential services and safety nets is vital for pursuing full employment and lifting wages,” ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie said.

St Vincent de Paul has also expressed concern about the interest rate, with the organisation’s national president, Claire Victory, describing the rate rise as a “kick in the teeth” for people living in poverty.

‘The surging cost of living, shortage of affordable housing, increasingly insecure work and stagnant wages are making it all-but-impossible for a growing number of Australians to survive,” Victory said.

‘Today’s interest rate hike will add to these pressures and disproportionately impact the most vulnerable people in the community, who are already struggling to get by, often with limited family or social support networks.’


Major banks quickly pass on interest rate increase

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