The NSW government announced public sector pay rises will be paused for the next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian promised no employees in the public sector would be laid-off over the 12 months and said, "Every spare dollar we have and every dollar we don't have, we need to spend in health and also in jobs and job security - that is the priority."
The state opposition said it would fight any changes to public servants and their wages.
NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay said, “Today Gladys Berejiklian thanked the heroes who risked their lives and served NSW during the COVID-19 crisis with a pay cut.
“This is a kick in the guts for people like teachers, nurses and health workers, bus and train drivers, cleaners, security guards and so many more who’ve had our back.”
If the changes go ahead, almost 410,000 workers, including teachers and nurses will have their pay-rises cut temporarily to save about $3 billion.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association described the move as an insult to tens of thousands of nurses that have been working hard during the pandemic.
Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data in April recorded over 220,000 people in NSW lost their jobs in April, as COVID-19 hammered the state's economy.