The NSW Public Service Association has today been granted leave by the High Court to challenge the NSW Government’s industrial laws that cap public sector pay rises.
Today’s decision allows the PSA to challenge the constitutional validity of the O’Farrell Government’s Industrial Relations Amendment (Public Sector Conditions of Employment) Act 2011 before the full bench of the High Court.
The laws introduced by the O’Farrell Government last year were designed to hobble the independence of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission in determining fair pay rates, said PSA General Secretary John Cahill.
“Public sector workers in NSW have long relied on the IRC to act independently to set fair wage rates,” said Mr Cahill.
“O’Farrell’s laws allow the government to overrule the independence of the court and direct it to set pay rates according to its political whim.
“We believe the laws are unconstitutional and we look forward to challenging them in the High Court, on behalf of all public sector workers.
“The PSA will do whatever it takes to stand up for fair wage increases and the integrity of the IRC.”
The PSA will argue the new industrial laws are constitutionally invalid because they allow the NSW government to overrule the industrial court. The hearing date is yet to be determined.
The IRC granted a 2.5% pay rise to the 80,000 employees covered by the Crown Employees Award last August, in line with the new IR laws.
A successful challenge to the laws would pave the way for the PSA to win a bigger pay rise for these workers and would flow across the public sector.
The 2.5% pay cap on public sector workers had made day-to-day life harder thousands of NSW families, said Mr Cahill.
“On their behalf, we are determined to do everything we can to overturn these unfair laws.”