Unions across multiple essential workforces, including paramedics, nurses and teachers, have staged rolling strikes this year in a campaign against the state’s public sector wage cap, which limits annual pay rises to 2.5 per cent.
The top wage on offer for the most senior ministerial staff has soared from $320,000 in 2020 to 354,000 last year as part of the creation of a new pay band, which puts their wage above that of almost the entire cabinet.
The Deputy Premier’s take-home packet tops out at $343,460, while senior ministers earn $326,541 and other ministers pocket $309,621.
The new top wage is also double the $191,000 earned by the most experienced school principals.
Labor’s education spokeswoman, Prue Car, slammed the bumper raises, saying it “doesn’t pass any pub test”.
“It’s always one rule for this government and another rule for everyone else, and indicative of how out of touch this government is with workers in NSW,” she said.
“While nurses, teachers and other frontline workers are having to march in the streets for fair pay, the Perrottet Government’s political staff are getting big pay rises.”
The Teachers Federation rejected an 11th-hour bid to halt the action, with President Angelo Gavrielatos declaring the Government has “failed”.
“The situation is unsustainable. More than 70 per cent of teachers are reporting that they’re considering options other than teaching,” he said.
An Industrial Relations Commission hearing which would have locked in a 2.04 per cent pay rise for teachers this year has been pushed back until after the budget, in order to give the Premier a chance to review his wages policy.
“I can’t commit to you that the decision that we land on will satisfy the concerns and the issues the Teachers Federation have,” Mr Perrottet said.
The Premier faced a second round of dissent as he visited Parramatta Public School yesterday morning, with teachers staging a walkout while carrying union posters before class began.