Karratha public sector workers join State-wide protest of wages policy

Alexander ScottPilbara News
More than 40 public service walkers protested in Karratha
Camera IconMore than 40 public service walkers protested in Karratha Credit: Alexander Scott/Pilbara News

More than 40 public sector workers in Karratha walked off the job in protest of the State Government’s wages policy — joining thousands around WA in the simultaneous protest.

Starting at The Quarter in Karratha, United Workers Union members from ports, transport, health, schools, corrections, police and emergency services held the rally to fight for a pay rise “which reflects their hard work” and is in-line with the cost of living.

The State Government’s latest iteration of the wages policy has capped wages at 3 percent-a-year with a one-off $2500 sign-on bonus.

It comes as figures show inflation is running above 7 percent in WA.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.

Protesters marched through the Karratha CBD
Camera IconProtesters marched through the Karratha CBD Credit: Alexander Scott/Pilbara News

The protest featured workers from the public sector including Roebourne Prison, Karratha Senior High School and Karratha Health Campus.

Speaking at the Karratha protest, Karratha Senior High School worker Paula Mann said the 5 per cent pay rise would mean workers could actually live in the Pilbara.

“As we all know Pilbara is very expensive to place to live into work. And with the cost of living rising, our wages are just not matching that and we need 5 per cent,” she said.

“There are some people who don’t think that they’re going to be able to afford to stay if we can’t get that pay rise.”

Karratha Senior High School woker Paula Mann
Camera IconKarratha Senior High School woker Paula Mann Credit: Alexander Scott/Pilbara News

Ms Mann said it would leave the Pilbara short staffed if the five per cent pay rise did not happen.

“It’s not going to be pleasant and then we’re going to be short staffed and who suffers, for education, It’s going to be our students,” she said.

“Mr. McGowen, maybe you should come up here and live and try and work on our wages and do our job and see what we do every single day and try and survive on the low wages that you’re offering.”

Meanwhile UWU public sector coordinator Kevin Sneddon said while the revised policy was an improvement on the $1000 cap that was in place a year ago, it would still short-change the State’s essential workers.

“Unions were not consulted about the new policy which was announced by the Premier on Facebook a couple of weeks ago,” he said.

Protesters marched through the Karratha CBD
Camera IconProtesters marched through the Karratha CBD Credit: Alexander Scott/Pilbara News

“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.

“Workers in the public sector have taken a pay cut year-on-year since McGowan was elected and it’s just not good enough. Public sector workers have worked through the height of the pandemic keeping Western Australia safe and strong and they deserve more than what is currently on offer.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails