NSW public sector workers rally against pay cut

Union protest
Nurses, teachers and other state public sector workers protesting the wage freeze imposed by the Berejiklian NSW Liberal government on November 16, NSW Parliament House. Photo: Peter Boyle

A "Scrap the Wage Cuts" rally was attended by several hundred nurses and other public sector workers outside New State Wales Parliament on November 16, the day before the state's budget was delivered. 

It was sponsored by Unions NSW and seven public sector unions. Actions were also organised across the state.

Brett Holmes, general secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, said: "Our frontline workers, including nurses, were essential in tackling the bushfire and the COVID-19 pandemic. On the eve of the state budget, we call on the NSW government to reverse its cuts to public sector wages. Our essential services workforce is at risk every day. They deserve much better recognition from this government."

The Queensland, South Australian and Victorian governments have all allocated pay rises to nurses in those states but their wages have been cut in NSW in real terms. 

Meanwhile, NSW public service top executives have been awarded 12.5% bonuses.

Angelo Gavrielatos, secretary of the NSW Teachers Federation, said: "Teachers and other public sector workers are valued at a miserable 1.5% and TAFE teachers have not received a pay rise for two years."

Stewart Little, NSW Public Service Association secretary, stressed that it is "absolutely unacceptable to hand down a 0.3% pay rise, effectively a wage cut, this year, with a limit of 1.5% in future for NSW public sector workers".

The rally heard from speakers from the Independent Teachers Union; the Australian Workers Union, the Australian Services Union, the Electrical Trades Union and the Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation.