Following months of industrial action by unions across industries, including health, education, and transport, the secretary of the peak union body in the Australia state of New South Wales (NSW) said more action was to follow until their wage demands were met.
Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey said rising inflation and cost of living, along with the expected interest rate hike, meant frontline workers needed a pay rise in the next state budget.
The Rail, Tram, and Bus Union (RTBU), NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA), NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF), and more unions are demanding a wage increase of at least 2.5 percent and other job-specific requirements.
However, according to the state’s industrial relations law, a 2.5 percent annual wages increase is the cap for public servants.
“No one relishes going on strike. But these workers ... have little alternative,” Morey said. “Everything is going up except their pay and they have no capacity to bargain for higher wages.”
“Of course, [Premier] Dominic Perrottet and [Treasurer] Matt Kean can end all of this very quickly by allowing nurses, paramedics, teachers, and other pandemic heroes to bargain for a fair wage rise,” Morey said.
The NSW state government has alleged Labor has teamed up with the unions to mount an attack on the Liberal-National coalition.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg called it “threatening behaviour” by the unions and a sign of what was to come if Labor is elected into parliament.
“The unions are ramping up, there's no doubt about that, and it's a poor taste of what they could expect, I suspect, with with licence from Labor,” Morrison told 2GB radio.
Morrison also pointed to the manufacturing union for protesting against the AUKUS alliance in early February and warned that a Labor government would “hand the country over to the unions.”