Premier faces public workforce on pay - UnionsWA

Premier faces public workforce on pay

Over 400 union members from the WA public sector workforce today heard from and posed questions of Premier Cook on WA’s State Wages Policy and the pay cap at a mass meeting at Perth Town Hall.

Owen Whittle, UnionsWA Secretary said:

“No one can remember the last time a Premier addressed and responded to questions from public sector unionists at a mass meeting.

“For WA’s public sector workforce, it gives hope that we’re under new management that listens.

“Public sector workers spoke to the Premier directly and told their stories of struggling to cope with rising costs of living in the face of poor, capped pay outcomes.

“All working people have skin in the game on this issue.

“Improving public sector pay will help those working in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors to get better pay.

“First, we need to defeat WA’s public sector pay cap which is rigged against working people in much the same way that federal IR laws are rigged in favour of employers.

“For many of the occupations that the public sector desperately needs, like those who lead and set the standards in our schools, hospitals and policing, we have seen real wages decline by $10,000 or more since 2017, or around a 10% in real terms.

“With interest rates rising again this week, the high cost of housing – rentals and mortgages – cost of living stress is growing every day.

“If a mortgage was taken out when the McGowan pay cap began 7 years ago, it would mean that for most in the public sector their pay has gone backwards for about a quarter of the life of their mortgage.

“Typical households can’t readily downsize a mortgage because their employer has imposed real pay cuts.

“When considering the impact of real wage decline across WA’s public sector, we also need to assess the impact on local schools, hospitals, child protection, firefighting, policing and other services.

“The impact of declining real wages is a failure to attract and retain staff in key services.

“The public relies on a capable and well-resourced public sector to keep services running and our community safe.

“Many of the functions of government are complex, often seeking to address difficult social and economic problems or working with highly disadvantaged communities, families or individuals.

“In this context, staff and skills shortages mean missed opportunities for communities and higher workloads for remaining staff.

“In the face of this decline, a joint Public Sector Alliance claim of 7% and 5% is needed to ensure that those we trust to deliver key services in our community receive the investment and recognition for the important role they play in our community.”

Cheryl Hamill, Health Services Union WA President said:

“The public relies on a capable and well-resourced public sector to keep services running and our community safe.

“We've seen what happens with excessive reliance on consultants and contractors. 

“The WA public sector needs to recruit and retain quality, independent public sector workers.”

About the Public Sector Alliance

The membership of the Public Sector Alliance represents Enterprise Bargaining Agreements covering over 100,000 working people in the WA public sector and comprises of coordination by UnionsWA and membership of several of our affiliated unions including United Workers Union, CPSU-CSA, United Professional Firefighters Union, WA Police Union, State School Teacher’s Union of WA, Health Services Union WA, Professionals Australia and the Rail Tram and Bus Union.


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