NT public sector protests over pay freeze

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About a thousand Northern Territory public sector workers have taken part in industrial action over an ongoing pay dispute with the government.

Teachers and correctional officers walked off the job in Darwin and Alice Springs on Thursday, with support from firefighters, nurses, power and water workers and Indigenous health practitioners.

"NT workers are only going to get angrier the longer Chief Minister (Natasha) Fyles continues to dismiss the workers' claims," Unions NT Secretary Erina Early said.

"The workers attending today are the ones who showed up at the height of the pandemic and continue to show up in the face of unsafe staffing levels."

Ms Early said the NT government was not listening to workers, who are overworked and struggling with the rising cost of living in the NT.

"Everyday we hear of short staffing in our schools, in our hospitals, in our prisons," she said.

"Is it any surprise workers are leaving frontline and essential service industries when they keep having to endure a pay cut while the cost of everything is sky rocketing?"

Ms Early said the unrest and disruption would continue until the government overhauled its pay offers.

"It's time for the government to accept the failure of policy and lose the freeze today," she said.

Minister for Business, Jobs and Training Paul Kirby on Wednesday said the unions had rejected the pay offers recently presented to teachers and correctional officers.

He said the government would continue to negotiate.

The day-long industrial action to protest the NT government's four-year public sector pay freeze started at 9am in front of Parliament House in Darwin and the Alice Springs Town Council building.

Teachers, firefighters and correctional officers undertook protected industrial action.

Other public sector workers joined the protests on their days off and scheduled breaks.

Prisoners in Darwin and Alice Springs correctional centres were locked down and schedule visits and court appearances were cancelled.

Schools remained open, however, some were forced to combine classes to cope with the absence of teachers.

Teachers previously walked off the job in Darwin and nearby Palmerston on August 19. It followed industrial action by correctional officers and firefighters in May and July.

The NT government's four-year public sector pay freeze for more than 20,000 public servants was introduced in November 2020 in a bid to save more than $400 million amid ongoing territory government deficits and climbing debt levels.

It was accepted by 57 per cent of employees.