Unions NSW says Dominic Perrottet’s war on wages has stepped up a gear with a plan to impose new fines on unions that stand up for decent living standards.
Unions NSW is the peak body, representing affiliated unions across almost every industry in NSW. It says Perrottet is the first premier to deliberately cut the living standards of nurses, teachers, firefighters and other public sector workers, consciously delivering pay that is more than two percentage points below inflation.
The cut to living standards is prompting industrial action across the workforce, with teachers and nurses both striking next week.
Rather than engage with unions in a meaningful way, Unions NSW says the premier is now planning impose fines of up to $55,000 for the first day of any industrial action and $27,500 for each day after that.
Unions that have previously stood up for decent wages and condition would face fines of up to $110,000.
This represents a five fold increase on current penalties.
“Instead of blaming unions for industrial action, Mr Perrottet needs to look at the man in the mirror,” Mark Morey, secretary of Unions NSW, says.
“The current action taking place across NSW schools, hospitals and transport is solely attributable to Perrottet, Kean and their policy of cutting the living standards of nurses, teachers, police and other public sector workers.
“There is a groundswell of anger and disgust among workers. People are filling up half a tank of petrol and then rationing it out over a fortnight…
“Perrottet is the first premier in living memory to deliberately cut the pay of nurses, teachers, police and other public sector workers.
“This is a badge of shame that he can’t ignore. When nurses and teachers are out on the streets you know something is crook.”
Morey says workers are fed up with the steady erosion of their living conditions.
“When unemployment is high, we are told we can’t have a pay rise because it will stop job creation. But when unemployment is low, we are told we must exercise wage restraint to stop inflation. Exactly when can we have a pay rise?” he asks.
“For a decade, wages have not risen. This is not the 1970s, and wages have not caused this inflation outbreak.
“The premier should ask his mates in the business lobby to take a hit for once and stop asking workers to always make the sacrifice.”