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Nurses, Teachers, Police, Could Miss Out On Thousands With Wage Freezes

The NSW Premier has conceded public sector wages, including those of frontline nurses, teachers, and police, could be frozen at the end of the financial year.

Gladys Berejiklian said the annual July 2.5 percent increase for public sector wages could be frozen, as the NSW Government resumed for special sessions.

"It's fair to say our wages policy will officially be considered by cabinet," Berejiklian said on Tuesday.

The wage freeze would be even more likely if there was a "second wave" of the coronavirus.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Image: AAP

More than 400,000 people are employed in the public sector industry in the state, and the wage freeze would save more than $3 billion a year.

But for workers on the frontline who earn, for example, $85,000 a year, the loss would be more than $2,000 each.

Tiffany McKay and her colleagues at Bendigo Health on International Nurses Day. Image: Supplied

On Monday, Brett Holmes, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association general secretary criticised Treasurer Dominic Perrottet for saying he will “always put people before numbers” before denying workers on the COVID-19 frontline a wage increase.

“The middle of a pandemic is hardly the time to be asking frontline nurses and midwives to suck it up, show up for their shifts and do even more for less,” he said.

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Holmes argued the government could not deny the sacrifice of frontline workers, referring to the 144 NSW Health workers who had contracted COVID-19 through their work.

“Thousands of nurses, midwives, other health sector workers, and public servants are risking their lives daily to keep fellow citizens safe,” he said.

“These workers deserve recognition, not attempts by the government to send wages backward and our economy into further turmoil."

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But on the same day Berejiklian announced workers may not receive their annual pay rise in July, the Police Association of New South Wales (PANSW) defended the recent pay rise received by the state’s Commissioner of Police.

“The determination was made by the Statutory and Other Offices Remuneration Tribunal (SORT), an independent tribunal established by statute,” it said in a statement.

“That independent decision should be respected by all parties."

PANSW also called on the government to offer a fair pay deal for all police in the state.

“The Premier reportedly supported the Commissioner’s pay rise and all police officers should enjoy that same support,” it said.

“They have been on the front line of every emergency from bushfires and floods to the current pandemic.”

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