The planned strike for public sector workers in NSW went ahead yesterday, with a key demand from the demonstrators being a 5.2% pay rise.
Earlier this week, the NSW government had announced a 3% pay rise for public sector employees and a one-off ‘thank you’ payment of $3,000 to health care workers.
Critics of the policy said it was not keeping up with inflation, and when implemented would entail an effective pay cut with inflation at 5.1%.
Public Service Association — which organised the strike — general secretary Stewart Little said he supported the $3,000 one-off payment but wanted it to be expanded to other areas of the public sector, such as education and prisons. Little said those areas were also crucial in the state’s weathering of the pandemic.
“Why aren’t we receiving the same treatment as those other frontline workers? And I tell you why. Because Mr Perrottet does not have a plan when it comes to inflation or the cost of living.
“We hear about interest rates going up, prices going up, electricity going up. Everything’s up except one thing. Our wages,” Little said.
— PSA NSW (@psansw) June 8, 2022
Mark Morey, secretary of Unions NSW, spoke at the rally, and criticised the premier for thinking it was only about pay.
“It’s about three things. Firstly, it’s about the overwork: the failing to fill positions, taking on extra work, longer hours, and no pay.
“Secondly, you’ve got a premier who announces 10,000 new health workers, where’s he going to get them from? He can’t hold onto the workforce that he’s got. How many people have had enough? [We’re] overworked, underpaid.
“And finally, this dispute is about one word that sums it all up: that word is respect,” Morey said.
NSW premier Dominic Perrottet ruled out extending the payments to other sectors, although he said he appreciated Labor and union bosses speaking up for their members, as reported by the ABC.
“My job as premier is to stand up for my members — that’s the 8 million people across our state.
“It’s not just the public service who are going through a challenging time, it’s every single person across NSW after coming through the pandemic,” Perrottet said.
Concurrent demonstrations occurred in other locations across the state, including Wagga Wagga, Tamworth, and Newcastle.