Essential workforce crisis set to ease with workplace reforms

There’s greater hope that the NSW essential workforce shortage will improve now that the wages cap has finally been axed, unions say.

The NSW Parliament has passed legislation to remove the powers that have allowed Coalition governments to cap the wages of public sector workers.

The Parliament has also passed other important measures including allowing specialised judges to resolve workplace health and safety matters and underpayments.

Mark Morey, Secretary of Unions NSW said: “Essential workers in NSW are now free from the shackles of the wage cap. The end of this wage suppression is a major win for workers, their families, and the people of NSW.

“These reforms will go a long way in attracting and retaining the workforce we need to keep NSW safe, healthy and educated. For too long, our teachers, nurses, police officers, firefighters, paramedics and child protection workers have been moving interstate or leaving the industry all together in pursuit of better pay to make ends meet. Staff shortages have been crippling the state’s critical services, including in our schools and hospitals.

“Not only will frontline workers now have a chance to bargain for fair pay rises that keep pace with the cost of living, they now have improved rights when it comes to seeking justice on workplace safety and underpayment.

“Finally, our heroes that NSW residents rely on everyday are getting the recognition and treatment they deserve.

“We thank every union activist, worker, and community member who has campaigned for change over the decade. We applaud Minister Cotsis, the Premier and the NSW Parliament for doing the decent thing in passing these reforms, which will undeniably make our state a better place to work and live.”