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NSW Govt: Super sneaky

The superannuation rip off – it’s been one of many ongoing sagas for NSW workers.

After finally securing modest superannuation increases, the NSW government decided it wouldn’t fund them and that workers should fund their own super increases.

NSW unions took the matter to court, and won. Not happy with that, the government appealed, and won the appeal.

So rather than seeing minor increases, we were looking down the barrel of the NSW government ripping the increase out of our 2.5% pay increase. Yes, our 2.5% was become 2.25%.

Unions have been considering the next move, including court challenges.

Then there was this, the Baird government this week slipped changes through parliament, reported by the ABC:

Baird tweaks pay rules to circumvent super increase

The NSW Treasurer has changed regulations to circumvent a recent Industrial Relations Commission ruling on the inclusion of compulsory superannuation increases in wage rises.

From July, compulsory employer superannuation contributions will rise from 9 per cent to 9.25 per cent, and will continue to rise incrementally until they reach 12 per cent in 2019.

The State Government wanted the federally-mandated employer contributions to be counted as part of a 2.5 per cent capped pay rise for public sector workers.

But earlier this week the IRC ruled it did not have to take the superannuation rises into account when determining wage increases.

Unions claimed the ruling as a victory, but Treasurer Mike Baird says he has now clarified the regulation to remove any ambiguity about superannuation as an employer-related cost.

Mr Baird says without the change, up to 8000 public sector jobs would have had to be cut.

But Opposition industrial relations spokesman Adam Searle described the move as a sneaky manoeuvre that disregards the industrial umpire’s decision.

“The O’Farrell government has tried to move the goalposts and claw back some of that superannuation money,” Mr Searle said.

“The industrial commission – the independent umpire – has said ‘no they can’t do that’.

“And now that roadblock has been put in the way, the day after Parliament has risen they slip through a new regulation on a Friday afternoon at the beginning of the school holiday in the hope that nobody will be paying attention.”

 

Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Lennon reported the issue via Unions condemn Government’s sneaky superannuation rip off:

While workers and unions considered the next step, the Baird government went one step further this week, sneaking changes to legislation to ensure the IRC doesn’t rule against the barbaric decision.

“Having been repeatedly rebuffed by both the upper house and numerous courts, the State Government has resorted to parliamentary trickery,” Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Lennon said.

“This is deceptive action by a Government that is absolutely determined to stop public sector workers maintaining their standard of living.

“Just one week ago, Mike Baird was cooing about the strength of the budget, now he’s trying to fleece firefighters, nurses, teachers and other public sector workers of their pay and smash their job security.

“The Premier may be able to fool the upper house, but he cannot fool 320,000 public sector workers.”

Greens member of NSW Parliament, David Shoebridge also reported the underhanded move via his website, Government sneaks through further wages cuts under cover of budget:

Last week buried deep in the legislation for the NSW budget was the: State Revenue and Other Legislation Amendment (Budget Measures) Bill 2014. In the last two pages of this bill was something that should not have been in the budget: a deceitful move by the Baird Government to incorporate compulsory superannuation increases in public sector wages.

This change means that the federally mandated increases to superannuation that will kick in over the next few years will now come directly out of public servants pay packets.

This is despite the fact that the Parliament had previously voted that they could not do this, and challenges to the laws in the Supreme Court by NSW unions. The change was hidden away on page 30 of the bill, and not mentioned in any of the Government speeches on the budget. Put simply, they snuck it through.

 

It is what it is – a grubby, sneaky abuse of power in just another attack on NSW workers by a Coalition government. Mike Baird is showing he’s nastier than O’Farrell ever was, and prepared to do anything to hurt workers, unions, and the public sector.

 

About Darin Sullivan (1967 Articles)
President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. Father of two daughters, he lives and works on the NSW South Coast, Australia. He is a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around him. He is a Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and works with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist he has long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. Now a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and has decades of experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. He is 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. Darin is also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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