WA unions warn government on inflation

Western Australia's nation-leading inflation has piled further pressure on the state government as public sector unions prepare to strike over pay.

Perth's consumer price index rose 1.7 per cent in the June quarter, pushing the annual inflation rate well above the national average to 7.4 per cent.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday highlighted Perth's rising cost of housing, fuel, household furnishings and medical services.

The cost of food and groceries, transport and clothing has risen in every capital city.

Health workers and other WA public servants are lobbying for a pay rise above the 2.75 per cent annual increase offered under the state government's public sector wages policy.

They say their pay is going backwards given WA has both the lowest wage growth and highest inflation rate of all states.

An alliance of public sector unions is planning to strike on August 17 unless the government improves its offer before then.

CPSU/CSA secretary Rikki Hendon said the McGowan government was out of touch with the pressures facing workers and their families.

"CPI is the best read we have on how much everyday costs are rising, and the government ignores it at their peril," she said on Wednesday.

"They're essentially saying 'we're happy for you to work hard for this state, run our critical community services, work through a pandemic, but continue to fall further and further behind at home'."

The McGowan government in May banked a $5.7 billion budget surplus. The budget included a one-off $400 electricity credit for every household.

Unions WA secretary Owen Whittle said while that relief was welcome, "clearly more needs to be done".

"Cuts to public sector pay mean cuts to public services as our schools, hospitals, police and other services struggle to fill vacancies and retain skilled staff," he said.

Health workers have in recent weeks held stop-work meetings outside Perth hospitals in a bid to ramp up pressure on the government.

The alliance also includes unions representing police officers, firefighters, prison guards and child protection workers.

Premier Mark McGowan has maintained that the government will bargain in good faith around the existing wages policy.

Teachers and public hospital doctors both recently voted to accept a 2.75 per cent pay increase.

Opposition treasury spokesman Steve Thomas said the premier would "have to justify" the wages stance given the state's strong financial position.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

  • Print this page
  • Copy Link