Our hand was forced by a government that won’t listen to the people who made them look good during times of strife.
So willing to adopt statesman- like poses as NSW coped admirably with various catastrophes, the State Government is now ignoring the very people whose efforts gave them positive headlines.
The decision to strike is not one the PSA takes lightly. Our members, as a whole, love their jobs. They know they are important. These are not ordinary careers.
Our members have vital jobs that have enormous highs – the look of joy a
School Learning Support Officer receives from a child struggling with learning who makes a breakthrough – through to heartbreaking lows – a National Parks Ranger staring at destroyed wilderness. Our members go to work to make a real difference to our state.
Yet when they are treated with disdain from their employer, our members are rightfully aggrieved.
Coming on the back of a truly shocking 0.3 per cent pay increase two years ago, the State Government is now telling us that every year, our spending power will go backwards as inflation ramps up.
To make things worse, we are on the wrong side of a deal designed to split the union movement, with most our members denied a one-off $3000 bonus paid to those in the health sector: a bonus that will not help future wage claims, as it will not be factored into any pay rises in coming years.
All this, it seems, for an ideological obsession with keeping Public Sector wages low and demonising anyone on the state payroll as somehow less worthy that those in the private sector, no matter what the economic conditions.
It was, therefore, a wonderful sight to see a sea of white T-shirts and banners bringing Macquarie Street to a standstill. It was great to hear the chants, the cheers and the cries of “shame” that accompanied any mention of the Perrottet Government.
I saw people from all over our diverse membership, Prison Officers standing
or took action elsewhere in the state, had foregone a day’s wages. They stopped work that no doubt had to be caught up on later. They didn’t go to the jobs they love doing.
Our members play a vital role for the people of NSW. They deserve to be heard and they deserve a pay rise that keeps up with spiralling living costs.
At this year’s Annual Conference, we heard from Chris Minns, the NSW Labor Leader, and his front bench team’s Industrial Relations Spokesperson Sophie Cotsis.
Their language was not the dismissive, “you’ve never had it so good” rhetoric of the current administration, but instead they praised the work our members do. And not just the headline-grabbing stuff such as extinguishing fires or chasing COVID-19. Most importantly, they committed to scrapping the wages cap.
Next March, the people of NSW go to the polls. The PSA/CPSU NSW will continue to push all parties for a
commitment to not only properly fund the vital services our members provide, but
to ensure the employees delivering these services are not punished financially with every inflationary bump.