A change of government in NSW will mean more money in Public Sector workers’ pockets.
NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns won plaudits at the State Labor Conference when he vowed to end the wages cap that has existed for Public Sector workers since 2011.
Speaking at the 2022 NSW Labor Conference, held in Sydney Town Hall, Mr Minns said it was “essential we start building our public services”.
Mr Minns pointed out that for this rebuilding to commence, the wages cap has to be removed.
“The Liberal and National Government wages cap has held back wages in the public and indeed in the private sector,” he said. “It has left industrial negotiations up to lawyers.
“Labor will scrap this broken system.
We will abolish the wages cap.”
PSA General Secretary Stewart Little welcomed the announcement, saying it would remove a policy that unjustly suppresses members’ wages.
“Inflation is running rampant, yet we are stuck with a policy restricting wage increases up to 2.5 per cent,” said Mr Little. “The policy was a bad one when legislated by the O’Farrell Government. In the current economic climate, it is even worse.”
The PSA has long demanded the State Government relinquish its control over Public Sector salaries and instead allow the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to properly set wages and conditions for the state’s workers.
“Our members’ wages and conditions should not be a political football,” said Mr Little. “They need to be set by a totally independent umpire – the IRC.”
At present, the IRC’s powers to set wages rises are stifled by the state government wages cap that, as inflation has increased, has wiped out a decade of pay increases.
“This needs to change,” said Mr Little. “We need to let the IRC return to its original role as an independent court of law that can exercise its powers to award you fair wages and conditions without undue interference from a government determined to wage war on the Public Sector.”
Mr Little proposes that the State Government step away from setting wages, in a similar way that the Federal Government leaves interest rates to an independent body: the Reserve Bank of Australia.
“This would have spared the Government the sight of PSA members marching for better wages in June this year,” said Mr Little.