Tuesday 24th December 2013
General Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, Brett Holmes, has accused the NSW Government and Premier Barry O’Farrell of using the cover of Christmas Eve to steal the fair entitlement of public sector workers to a modest superannuation increase.
“This is Premier O’Farrell’s thanks to nurses and midwives as well as police, firefighters and other public sector workers after a long year of hard work. ‘Instead of a Christmas present we’re stealing part of your pay rise.’
“Well on behalf of nurses, thanks a lot Premier. And happy Christmas to you too,” Mr Holmes said.
“I’ve seen some mean-spirited acts from governments in my time, but this really breaks new ground.”
“Nurses and midwives accepted the Government’s measly 2.5% pay increase early this year. Then, when the Federal Government adjusted employer super contributions, the NSW Government tried to force employees to pay by deducting the super increase from the pay rise, reducing it to 2.27%.
“Public sector unions took a case to the IRC – and won. The Industrial Realtions Commission told the Government to pay its own employer-related costs, not pinch the money from employees.
“The Government next tried to ride roughshod over this decision and make a regulation simply mandating its employees pay for this and all future increases in superannuation.
“This was rejected by the Parliament – but they still weren’t done. The Government then spent another small fortune on barristers taking another case back to the Commission, essentially arguing they just can’t afford to pay their employer’s super contributions.
“This was also rejected by the President of the Commission just a week ago. Now, almost literally on the night before Christmas, they are back in Court pulling every legal maneuver in the book to forestall the Commission finalising the pay rise for nurses and other public sector workers,” Mr Holmes said.
The IRC today agreed to hear the Government’s case for reversing its decision on 30 January 2014 and a Government appeal to the Court of Appeal is set down for 3 February.
“There appear to be no lengths they won’t go to to ruin Christmas and the new year for public sector workers,” Mr Holmes said.