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NSW Wages case to go to High Court

A KEY NSW union has won the right to take the NSW Government to the High Court over laws that cap the pay of public sector workers.

The legislation, which caps wage increases at 2.5 per cent a year and sidelines the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC), passed parliament last June.

The state’s Industrial Court upheld the laws in November, prompting a legal challenge from the Public Service Association (PSA).

In a statement today, the union said it been granted leave by the High Court to challenge the industrial laws.

“We are determined to do everything we can to overturn these unfair laws,” PSA general secretary John Cahill said in a statement.

The reforms sparked mass protests across the state, with about 30,000 public sector workers rallying in Sydney’s Domain in September.

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Mr Cahill said the PSA – which represents 45,000 public sector workers – would challenge the “constitutional validity” of the laws.

“The PSA will argue the new industrial laws are constitutionally invalid because they allow the NSW Government to overrule the industrial court,” he said.

“Public sector workers in NSW have long relied on the IRC to act independently to set fair wage rates.

“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.”

Mr Cahill said the hearing date before the full bench of the High Court was yet to be determined.

About Darin Sullivan (1969 Articles)
President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. I live and work on the NSW South Coast, Australia. I am a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around me. I am a Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and work with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist I have long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. I am a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and have 30 years experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. I am passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. I am also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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