After more than a decade, the failed NSW public sector wages cap is gone.

Last week the NSW Parliament passed legislation to remove the powers that allowed state governments to cap the wages of public sector workers below the cost of living.

Removing the cap means our essential public sector workers can now bargain and campaign for fair pay rises.

Under the last LNP state government, our essential services were driven into crisis, crumbling under the rising cost of living because NSW could no longer attract and retain the essential workers needed to look after our state.

There are many stories of our nurses, teachers, firefighters, paramedics, child protection workers, cleaners and so many other workers leaving their professions or moving interstate for better pay because they can’t make ends meet.

“The NSW Government and Parliament have passed these laws because of union campaigning and I am proud of the role USU members played in that campaign,” said USU General Secretary Graeme Kelly OAM.

Earlier this year a USU member-led delegation visited NSW parliament for a series of meetings with ministers and officials, calling for essential workers to be able to negotiate a fair and reasonable pay increase that is reflective of the work they do. This legislation enables that!

This win belongs to every union activist who took action – whether it was in the streets or in their communities – this is a great win.

The NSW Government’s bill will also:

  • bring back the Industrial Relations Court – fixing the broken industrial relations system of the previous government;
  • bring back a dedicated and specialised court for unions to pursue industrial disputes;
  • establish WHS prosecutions within the Court – so that unions can finally prosecute employers who breach their work, health, and safety responsibilities; and
  • attract and retain workers – making it an objective of the commission to encourage the attraction and retention of workers to provide quality public services.

When workers take action together, workers win.