NSW unions criticise 3% public sector pay rise, strike to go on

By Anna Macdonald

June 7, 2022

Dominic Perrottet
NSW premier Dominic Perrottet (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

A NSW public sector strike will continue as planned tomorrow, despite yesterday’s announcement of a 3% pay rise for public sector employees. 

The government announced a two-year policy for all public sector employees to receive a 3% pay rise per year over two years, as well as a one-off $3,000 payment to health service workers for their work during the pandemic.

However, unions have criticised the government for not keeping up with inflation, which sits at 5.1%, and a planned strike for tomorrow will go ahead.

According to the NSW Public Service Association’s (PSA) website, the Sydney demonstration will begin at Hyde Park and will continue to NSW Parliament at 10.30am. Concurrent march locations are planned across the state, including Wagga Wagga, Tamworth, and Broken Hill. 

PSA general secretary Stewart Little told ABC he is expecting 30,000 people to show up tomorrow.

“This offer is pure politics: moving half a per cent and playing silly games with one-off bonuses for certain workers,” Little said. 

The association is asking for a 5.2% wage increase.

“The NSW government continues to impose an unfair and unjust wages cap on Public Sector workers, despite their essential work providing our state with critical security and support during the catastrophic bushfires, a global pandemic and the worst floods in recorded history,” the PSA stated on its website.

Unions NSW, which had stated its opposition to the previous policy of a 2.5% public sector wage cap, also criticised the news.

“Make no mistake. Today, the NSW government announced a real pay cut for over 410,000 public sector workers. Inflation is running above 5% — a pay cap of 3% prevents workers from negotiating to keep up with the soaring cost of living,” the organisation tweeted yesterday. 

Not every union has opposed the news, with the Health Services Union (HSU) NSW — the sector which is receiving the $3,000 one-off payment — welcoming the news. 

The HSU has said the pay rise, coupled with the payment, means pay rises will effectively be more than 5.5% for health service workers. The organisation credited two years of lobbying for the ‘decent pay rise’.

HSU members are celebrating victory in a wages battle, with NSW Govt announcing health workers will get a 3% increase + a special one-off payment of $3000 to recognise their incredible dedication during COVID.

But how does it translate? Check out this table for a few examples! pic.twitter.com/e28f3qpLMd

— HSU NSW (@HSUNSW) June 6, 2022


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