Time for O’Farrell to accept referee’s decision

The General Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) Brett Holmes has welcomed the decision of Justice Boland in the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW to grant public sector workers the 2.5 percent wage increase originally promised by the O’Farrell Government’s own wage policy.

“This is a victory for fairness and a lesson about abiding by the independent referee’s decision,” Mr Holmes said on Tuesday.

“The decision means hard-working nurses and midwives across NSW will finally get the very modest pay increase they were meant to get way back in July 2013.  A 2.5% increase cent barely keeps them level with inflation and yet the O’Farrell Government has tried every trick in the book to deny them even this.

The O’Farrell Government announced on 3 May that it would discount its promised 2.5% pay increase to Public Sector workers by 0.25% to pay for the Superannuation Guarantee increase legislated by the Commonwealth Government.

The unions successfully argued that the 2.5% should not be discounted. As a consequence, the IRC awarded the 2.5 percent increase to public sector workers in June this year. The Government then sought to use its numbers in the Parliament to simply throw out the independent Commission’s decision and pass a regulation overturning it.

These bully boy tactics fell flat, however, when the regulation was finally defeated in the Upper House.

Again the unions sought the awarding of 2.5% from the Commission, in line with its previous decision. The O’Farrell Government was so determined to deny nurses and other public sector workers basic fairness they then went back to the IRC again and tried to make a case that they can’t afford to pay this paltry increase. Now Justice Boland has ruled against them yet again.

“This is now beyond a joke and way past time for the Premier to accept a decision fair and square. They’ve tried every trick in the book and a few that aren’t in any rule book. They’ve all failed. It’s time to pay up,” Mr Holmes said.

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