PSA News – 6 May 2014
Court of Appeal supports Government wages policy
The Court of Appeal today ruled in favour of the Baird Government’s position that increases in superannuation are to be included under its wage cap.
As members know, the PSA has fought tirelessly to secure the full 2.5% rather than have it discounted by the rise in the superannuation guarantee levy.
Today’s decision however means members employed under the Public Sector Salaries and related awards will, under the 2013 wage case, receive no more than the 2.27% that has been already paid.
This equates to the 2.5% available under the Government’s wages policy discounted by the rise in the superannuation guarantee levy.
In April 2013, the PSA applied to the Industrial Relations Commission for a 2.5% salary increase to commence from 1 July 2013.
This was the maximum allowed, without trade-offs, under the Government’s unfair wages policy.
In May, the Government suddenly announced its intention to use the Federal Government’s increase to the Superannuation Guarantee Contribution as an excuse to reduce the pay of public sector workers.
The PSA argued against this in the Industrial Relations Commission and won by unanimous decision of the Full Bench of the Commission.
The Government refused to accept the ruling and attempted to exhaust every legal loophole to find a way around the decision.
This included an unsuccessful attempt to change its own law.
An interim increase of 2.27% was however agreed upon and backdated – thanks to the PSA – to the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2013.
In December 2013, the Industrial Relations Commission ruled that the Government should pay the full 2.5% and not discount it by the superannuation increase.
But once again the Government was unprepared to accept the decision of the independent umpire and embarked on a multi-stepped strategy in defence of its position.
Again, it unsuccessfully moved to change its own law.
As part of this strategy, the Government took the matter to the Court of Appeal.
And today won.
“This is an extremely disappointing conclusion to a fight the PSA has led for the past year,” said PSA General Secretary, Anne Gardiner.
“Public sector workers have effectively been locked into pay increases below the inflation rate.“
“On top of the endless wave of job cuts, today’s decision will make it more difficult for the NSW public service to attract and retain highly skilled workers.”
The PSA will continue to fight to protect your wages and conditions and the important public services you provide.