Public sector salary gap will widen with ERA changes

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The Public Service Association says the gap between the salaries of chief executives and the average public servant is widening and will only worsen with the government’s employment relations changes.

The States Services Commission has released annual salary figures for public service and state sector senior staff.

The PSA says there is a growing disparity between the top levels of the public service and the average public servant.

Government department chief executives received an average salary increase of 5.1%.  That compares to wage movement in the wider public service of just 1.4%.  The top CEO salary of $609,999 paid to the head of Treasury is also 11 times the median public servant salary of $57,560.

“What makes these figures even harder to swallow is that we are increasingly having to battle at the bargaining table to get decent pay increases for our members, with some departments offering zero per cent increases due to government budget cuts,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

The PSA says that gap is only going to widen further with the government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill.

The PSA negotiates hundreds of collective agreements across the public and state sectors and believes the Bill is in part targeted at collective bargaining in the public sector in a bid to reduce public sector spending.

“The Bill will allow employers to walk away from collective bargaining and mean that they can force workers to agree to lesser terms and conditions which will drive down wages.   Collective bargaining is the key mechanism in delivering better wages,” says Richard Wagstaff.

“I’m sure chief executives will continue to see their salaries rise while the average public servant will find it even more difficult to get a fair deal.”