PSA, government both claim win as dispute is settled

A long-running industrial dispute between the NSW government and public sector workers, which led to them striking last year for the first time in 20 years, has been settled.

Both the Public Service Association and the government claimed the result as a win.

The Association's new general secretary, Anne Gardiner, said she was pleased the government had withdrawn its application in the industrial relations commission to cut the conditions of public service employees. The government had threatened to cut a list of conditions, including leave loading.

The government's plan to cut conditions prompted PSA members to stage their first strike in more than 20 years in October last year at Sydney's Town Hall.

"This exercise in muscle flexing was something the government has decided it does not want to pursue," Ms Gardiner said.

The PSA failed in its attempt to challenge the legality of the government's 2.5 per cent salary cap in the High Court.

Ms Gardiner said the PSA had been forced to accept that the cap would be in place for as long as the O'Farrell government was in power.

Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations, Mike Baird, said he welcomed the Public Service Association's decision to accept the 2.5 per cent wage increase for 80,000 employees under the government's wages policy.

“Our wages policy clearly strikes the right balance – it is fair for employees and affordable for the State. Wages above 2.5 per cent can be paid, provided they are offset by savings,” Mr Baird said.

“We filed an application proposing offsets last year because the PSA sought a wage increase above 2.5 per cent. With the PSA reconsidering their position and now accepting 2.5 per cent, we will today discontinue that application before the IRC."

This story PSA, government both claim win as dispute is settled first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.