Sunday 26 May 2024

Contact 1800 772 679

Contact 1800 772 679

The magazine of the Public Service Association of NSW and the Community and Public Sector Union (NSW Branch)

Ending the Employment Limbo Needs Real Jobs and Real Wages

Ending the Employment Limbo Needs Real Jobs and Real Wages

Our nation’s prosperity was built on secure, full-time work.


The State Government fills many roles delivering services and protecting the people of NSW. 

It also has a less celebrated role, creating the foundations of a secure, full-time workforce. 

The NSW Government is Australia’s biggest employer, with more than 400,000 employees providing essential services across the state.

For many families, a state-government employee is the main breadwinner, providing stability and security, as well as providing services for the wider community.

Some regional centres would have far less secure economies were it not for the Public Sector workers using local businesses and services.

Yet for too many government employees, these full-time, secure roles can be elusive. Our Organisers and Industrial Officers regularly deal with cases of people who have been in insecure roles for more than a decade, employed in a permanent limbo where jobs can be whisked away at the stroke of a pen.

Our schools, for example, hire staff such as School Learning Support Officers on a year-to-year basis depending on the number of students needing support. Enough children move on to another school and the roles vanish and there is one less Public Sector worker in employment.

This employment-status limbo can sometimes last for more than a decade.

There are similar stories in the TAFE and university systems, which run along using an army of insecure employees who are not sure they will have a job in a year.

Employees hired in insecure roles are less likely to want to be branded a “troublemaker” and speak up, ask for a raise or a promotion, or point out an unsafe workplace.

Away from work, they are less likely to gain access to credit and are more likely to suffer from stress brought on by their uncertain work future. 

There is hope, though. We recently had a visit from the Shadow Education Minister, Prue Car, who vowed to do more to reduce the school system’s reliance on insecure work. The PSA/CPSU NSW hopes, should her party win government, this will be repeated in other parts of the state’s Public Sector and its universities and TAFE campuses.

The emergence of Australia’s thriving middle class came about thanks to real jobs and real wages.

Our country needs people in full-time, secure jobs drawn from both the public and private sectors. And regardless of what party is in power, the State Government has a role keeping that prosperity going. 

On behalf of all the executive and staff here at the PSA/CPSU NSW, I’d like to wish all members and their families a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a prosperous, well-paid 2023.

The NSW Government is Australia’s biggest employer, with more than 400,000 employees

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