The NSW Teacher’s Federation have said the decision to freeze the pay of public servants for a year is a “slap in the face”.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the 12-month pause yesterday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and said no workers would be made redundant during this time.
Ms Berejiklian last week said her government was seeking a freeze on pay rises for MPs and on Wednesday extended that freeze to the entire NSW public sector of almost 410,000 workers, temporarily saving about $3 billion.
The freezes would not be applied retrospectively, meaning a public sector worker’s 12-month pay freeze would begin upon the commencement of their next pay agreement.
“Every spare dollar we have and every dollar we don’t have, we need to spend in health and also in jobs and job security – that is the priority,” Ms Berejiklian said yesterday.
“Whether this decision impacts today or in 12 month’s time, it still amounts to a pay cut and will be resisted by our members,” NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said.
“This is hardly the recognition teachers and principals deserve after the extraordinary efforts they have made to maintain educational continuity for our students during these unprecedented times.”
He said the NSW Teachers Federation would consider all industrial, political and legal options in the defence of members’ rights.
Similarly, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) said healthcare workers have sacrificed enough already.
“Month after month, nurses and midwives have showed up for their shifts, helped tackle the worst pandemic our health system has ever seen and kept our community safe,” General Secretary Brett Holmes said. ” Now they’re being told they must do more for less.”
He said the pay freeze will also impact regional communities.
“After suffering through drought, bushfires and now COVID-19, it beggars’ belief the government wants to make it even harder for these communities to recover.”
– Reported with AAP