Public servants up in arms at Premier’s ‘no sacrifice’ claim

The public service union has rejected the Premier's suggestion that government employees have not been asked to make sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It comes after Gladys Berejiklian defended pay rises for senior department heads and said there was no decision yet to impose a wage freeze for frontline workers.

 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian (right) and Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott speak to the media. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
Premier Gladys Berejiklian (right) and Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott speak to the media. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP

Ms Berejiklian told reporters that, unlike many private sector employees, public servants "have not had to sacrifice anything in terms of their job or their salary".

Public Services Association (PSA) boss Stewart Little hit back immediately.

"Does the Premier really think the NSW Health officials who have been working 18-hour days for the past two months haven't made sacrifices," Mr Little asked.

"What about the prison officer who spent five hours with a knife to his throat on Tuesday?"

Police Minister David Elliott said corrections staff and police officers injured at work wanted recognition not a pay rise.

"Every time an officer in corrections or in police is injured in the line of duty, I have always, … made a point of calling them. Not once have they said to me this would have been made better if I'd got a pay rise," he said.

 

Health workers have been working long hours during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: iStock
Health workers have been working long hours during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: iStock

The PSA called on the government to support public servants to accelerate economic growth - after the Premier said she has "given up on balancing the budget".

The Premier defended big pay rises given to senior public servants, saying "those decisions were taken last year" and money had been saved overall as high-paid secretary positions had been cut.

Ms Berejiklian said no decision has been made on whether a planned 2.5 per cent pay rise for public servants - including frontline healthcare and police workers - will go ahead.

A government official said job security was the government's first priority.

State Labor Leader Jodi McKay said her opponent was obscuring the truth.

"For the Premier to stand there and defend the pay rises of senior fat cats while cutting the wages of public sector employees is just not on," Ms McKay said.

"She's actually forgotten to tell you that the senior executive has, in fact, increased by 140 positions over the last year."



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