Gladys’ wage freeze threat: Take $1000 or expect job losses
More than 330,000 public servants would be eligible for a $1000 one-off payment if state parliament gives the green light to a general wage freeze in the public sector.
Despite the $1000 offer and the Premier's warning of potential job losses if the wage freeze is blocked, Labor and the crossbench last night looked set to torpedo the $3 billion savings measure.
Unions were still consulting with members last night, and will advise Gladys Berejiklian of their decision as soon as this morning,
But the Premier has warned if the pay freeze is blocked by parliament, the government will seek to implement the pause on wages anyway through the Industrial Relations Commission.
Some paramedics are refusing to fill out billing details for ambulance patients, in a paperwork protest against the state governments wage freeze.
The Australian Paramedics Association is refusing to put patients address on forms after a call out, costing the state government up to $900 per trip.
NSW president Chris Kastelan told the daily telegraph the protest will only hurt the government's coffers.
"It's meant to deal with the revenue bottom line and in no way impact patient care and support," he said.
"Patient and community care will not be compromised."
Under the Premier's peace offering, announced yesterday, almost all of the public service would get the $1000 bonus, with only senior executives excluded.
It can also be revealed part-time public servants would receive a pro-rata payment.
Freezing public sector wages would allow the government to guarantee jobs for all public servants (and) provide a bonus for all non-SES employees, Ms Berejiklian said.
"If the New South Wales parliament disallows the regulation we've put forward, we won't be in a position to be able to guarantee the jobs," she said.
"We can go to the Industrial Relations Commission and get the wage freeze, but we can't get the jobs guarantee or the $1000 (bonus)."
The NSW Opposition last night remained staunchly opposed to the pay freeze, despite the promise of a $1000 sweetener for workers.
"Labor is appalled the Berejiklian government is now making threats about sacking workers if they do not get their way," Labor's upper house leader Adam Searle said last night.
There was little support from the cross benches either.
Shooters, Fishers, and Farmers Party leader Robert Borsak said it didn't make sense for the government to threaten job losses during the pandemic.
"If the government were to cut jobs they'd actually be undermining the very strategy they're trying to run."
One Nation and the Animal Justice Party were also set to block the wages freeze.
Public Service Association Secretary Stewart Little said the $1000 bonus offer did not change the union's position.
"Nothing has been put to us that we could possibly put to our membership," he said.
The government wants public servants to forego an expected 2.5 per cent pay rise so the government can divert $3 billion to infrastructure projects. That $3 billion is expected to create up to 20,000 jobs.
A motion to block the pay freeze is set to go to parliament's upper house as early as today.
Originally published as Gladys' wage freeze threat: Take $1000 or expect job losses