Media Release

2 June 2020

NSW Labor is demanding that every single Government MP who voted in both houses of Parliament last night for more than 400,000 workers across the State to have their wages slashed explain themselves and apologise.

Shortly after a Labor motion in the upper house successfully blocked the cuts, a companion motion in the lower house from Labor, also rejecting the anti-worker move, came within a handful of votes of succeeding.

It failed only because all 44 Government lower house MPs present – some of whom have expressed major personal reservations against the workforce attacks – voted in support of penalising workers.

Under parliamentary rules the upper house motion prevailed regardless, leaving the Government’s crude attempt at strong-arming the NSW workforce completely exposed.

NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay said: “Gladys Berejiklian and every single one of her Liberal and National Party MPs who voted to cut workers’ wages owe their community an explanation.”

The attempted cuts will have a shocking effect not just on workers such as health care professionals, cleaners, police, firefighters and more, but will also deal a body blow to the wider economy.

Independent economic modelling from the Australia Institute has revealed the proposed cuts will cut 1,100 jobs in NSW.

It says that for every $1 million invested in public sector workers’ wages, two additional private sector jobs are created. The same amount invested in construction would only create one additional job.

The report also warns that cutting public sector workers’ wages to fund infrastructure might accelerate job losses across the private sector in retail, hospitality and tourism.

“The Berejiklian Government’s attempt to cut wages isn’t just an insult to every worker who kept our community going during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was an act of economic vandalism” — Adam Searle MLC, Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations

The Government confirmed last night it would now press ahead with its outrageous economy-trashing plan by taking it straight to the Industrial Relations Commission tomorrow.

“Labor will oppose any attempt by the Berejiklian Government to cut workers’ wages. Our workers have stood strong during this public health crisis. They deserve a medal, not a pay cut,” Ms McKay said.