As the cost of living keeps rising, public sector workers in New South Wales could find themselves $6,000 worse off over the next three years.
A Unions NSW report pointed to a real loss in wages for teachers, police, firefighters, prison guards and bus drivers under current inflation forecasts and the state government's 2.5 per cent wage cap.
‘Real wages’ refers to the amount of purchasing power someone has as opposed to the actual money received.
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For example, if the cost of goods keeps rising but your take-home pay remains the same, then your pay won’t get you as far.
The Unions NSW report comes as public servants threaten to go on strike this Wednesday unless the NSW government commits to a 5.4 per cent pay rise by Monday.
The report determined the median public sector wage could see a shortfall of $6,156.08 over the next three years.
NSW public school teachers, who took strike action last month over wages and conditions, could lose around $6,500 from their wages over the next three years.
Firefighters’ pay packets would be down $5,800 over the same period and nurses would be around $5,200 worse off.
Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey said some of the state's most important workers were being punished.
"Our essential workers saved countless lives and kept the state running throughout the most difficult two years in recent memory," he said.
"Now, as the cost of living surges 5.1 per cent and higher, they are being asked to accept a pay cut.
"Any wage movement below inflation is a pay cut."
The union is calling for a solution in the upcoming state Budget, including a fix for staff shortages and growing workloads.
"If Premier [Dominic] Perrottet refuses to adequately address these issues, unions will proceed with escalating industrial action across the NSW public sector," Morey said.
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The NSW government will move to fund 1,858 new paramedics and 30 more ambulance stations across the state in the coming Budget.
The Health Services Union has welcomed the announcement following several industrial actions by NSW paramedics this year.
Secretary Gerard Hayes dubbed it a historic win for paramedics who had been "consistently under-resourced".
- With AAP