Unions for multiple essential workforces, including paramedics, nurses and teachers, have staged ongoing strikes this year in a campaign against the state’s public sector wage cap, which caps annual wage increases at 2.5 percent.
The maximum salary offered for the most senior ministerial staff has soared from $320,000 in 2020 to $354,000 last year as part of the creation of a new pay band, which puts their salary above that of almost the entire cabinet.
The Deputy Prime Minister’s take home package tops out at $343,460, while chief ministers earn $326,541 and other ministers pocket $309,621.
The new maximum salary is also double the $191,000 earned by the most experienced school principals.
Labor education spokeswoman Prue Car criticized the bumper raises, saying it “doesn’t pass any pub tests”.
“It’s always one rule for this government and another rule for everyone else, and it indicates how out of touch this government is with working people in New South Wales,” he said.
“While nurses, teachers and other frontline workers have to march in the streets for fair pay, the political staff of the Perrottet government are getting big pay raises.”
The Teachers’ Federation rejected a last-minute attempt to stop the action, with President Angelo Gavrielatos declaring that the government had “failed”.
“The situation is untenable. More than 70 percent of teachers report that they are considering options other than teaching,” he said.
An Industrial Relations Commission hearing that would have secured a 2.04 per cent pay rise for teachers this year was delayed until after the budget, to give the prime minister a chance to review his pay policy.
“I cannot commit to you that the decision we make will satisfy the concerns and problems that the Federation of Teachers has,” Perrottet said.
The prime minister faced a second round of dissent when he visited Parramatta Public School yesterday morning, with teachers staging a strike while carrying union signs before classes started.