Public sector workers took to the streets across the State on Wednesday in a co-ordinated strike to demand better pay after rejecting the McGowan Government’s new wages policy.
In Geraldton, a crowd of more than 50 workers from a range of public sector areas including prison guards, health service workers and teachers gathered on the foreshore braving wet and wild conditions to make their voices heard.
The latest wages policy proposed capped wages at 3 per cent a year with a one-off $2500 sign-on bonus.
The rally was organised by the United Workers Union, which encompasses many public sector unions, and co-ordinator Kevin Sneddon said while he acknowledged the new policy was a step in the right direction it wasn’t nearly enough.
“Unions were not consulted about the new policy which was announced by the Premier on Facebook a couple of weeks ago,” Mr Sneddon said.
“The one-off payment of $2500 will provide some relief but will be a sugar hit and in the second year wages will go backwards once more at a time where the cost of essentials such as food, fuel and housing are going through the roof.”
The organiser of the local rally Jodi Mitchell said they were campaigning under the Five to Survive slogan.
“We are looking for 5 per cent per year of the next two years minimum,” she said.
“People in the regions are often having to get up and move because they cannot afford to stay in the area, we’ve had huge percentage of both health and education workers either have to move to Perth or take on two or three jobs just to survive.”
“It’s ridiculous this happens in this day and age especially since this big surplus McGowan keeps spruiking was built on the back of public sector workers.”
Ms Mitchell said the regions have been doing it tough for some time and the government has shown little in the way of support.
“Care what care? Public sector workers are not just facing a wage cut at the moment, effectively they have had cuts over the last four to five years,” she said.
“Campaigning for this 5 per cent is really just playing catch up.”
Local Labor MP Lara Dalton was contacted for comment.