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NSW public sector frontline workers could be handed $1,000 in return for wage freeze

Public sector workers are set to get a $1,000 handout from the New South Wales government.

The proposal comes days after the Berejiklian government froze their wages for 12 months amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

The one-off payment would be available for non-executive frontline workers such as nurses, police officers, paramedics, teachers and train crews in lieu of a 2.5 per cent salary increase.

Frontline workers make up half of the state's 410,000-strong public sector workforce.

NSW public sector frontline workers such as nurses are in line for a one-off $1,000 payment. Pictured is a nurse testing patients at a coronavirus screening clinic

A promise of no forced redundancies is also part of the offer from NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, who approached union leaders on the weekend in the hope of striking a deal before parliament resumes this week.

The $1,000 stimulus payment is estimated the cost the state $200 million.

'I want to work with the unions to get a good outcome,' Mr Perrottet said in a statement.

'Given the economic downturn, we want to ensure every dollar counts towards creating jobs and keeping people in work.'

The payment for public sector workers such as the police force would be in in lieu of a 2.5 per cent salary increase after the NSW government announced a 12 month wage freeze. Pictured are police patrolling Coogee Beach

The proposal has already raised concerns from unions.

Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey believes the payment will short-change workers and accused the NSW government of having 'warped priorities'.

'These workers have risked exposure to COVID-19 to protect the public's health. Now Dominic Perrottet wants to put his hand in their pocket and take out half a billion in modest pay rises that was due from June 30,' Mr Morey said.

'Why does Dominic Perrottet look for savings from the very people who have saved us?

The NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association also slammed the 11th hour offer as a poor attempt to buy off their members. 

'The NSW government is effectively trying to silence 50,000 nurses and midwives with a $1000 payment, short-changing them on the sacrifices they have made and continue to make every day,' NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes

'This is how nurses and midwives are treated for keeping our communities safe and saving lives throughout the COVID-19 pandemic? Essentially saying: 'Sorry about your wage freeze, here's a fraction of what you're owed to keep quiet'.

'A one-off payment is not an act of generosity from the Treasurer. The government is deliberately attempting to hoodwink our members and is threatening job cuts if the upper house successfully blocks the government's wage freeze regulation.

'It's an extremely insulting and reckless decision by the Treasurer, cloaked in desperation.'

Half of the NSW public sector workforce consists of frontline workers such as paramedics

The stimulus payment offer is dependent on Labor and the crossbench not pursuing a disallowance motion in the NSW Upper House to block the regulation to freeze wages.

The NSW public sector makes up 10 per cent of the state's workforce. 

The wage freeze will give the NSW government an additional $3billion to pay for projects to create jobs and stimulate the economy which has been crippled by recent lockdown restrictions. 

'We are pausing pay rises for politicians and public servants so we can guarantee jobs for people who are in them and create tens of thousands more for those who have found themselves out of work,' Mr Perrottet said.

'I would love to be able to give everyone a pay-rise but given the environment we need to put our funds towards creating jobs and pay cheques for the half a million people out of work.'

NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association slammed  the payment offer from the NSW Treasurer. Pictured is a nurse assessing a patient at St George Hospital's COVID-19 clinic

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