NSWNMA members strike for patient safety
Pressure from nurses, midwives and other public sector workers has forced the Berejiklian government to back down from its pathetic 1.04 per cent pay offer. But the campaign for shift-by-shift ratios continues.
Leading up to the most recent COVID-19 lockdown, NSWNMA members walked off the job, closed beds or held rallies at over 30 public health sites across NSW.
As part of our campaign for shift-by-shift ratios and better pay and conditions, this industrial action bore its first fruit when the Berejiklian government backed down from its insulting pay offer in the state budget.
The government had responded to our pay and conditions claim with a 1.04 per cent pay offer. The government then backtracked and restored its previous wages cap of 2.5 per cent for public sector workers, including nurses and midwives working in the public health system.
This is still well below the 4.7 per cent increase claimed by the NSWNMA, which would make up the lost ground after nurses and midwives only received 0.3 per cent last year.
Even this paltry amount was only achieved when the association pursued a 2.5 percent increase in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission after the government had completely frozen public sector wages.
NSWNMA General Secretary Brett Holmes said the revised pay offer was not nearly enough to satisfy the health workforce, and shift-by-shift ratios remained the overwhelming priority of our members.
“The wave of industrial action shows the frustration felt by nurses and midwives at the refusal by the NSW government to improve staffing by implementing shift-by-shift ratios,” he said.
“Even before the latest COVID outbreak, our public health system was bursting at the seams and the pressure was increasing on the health workforce year by year.
“The number one priority of our members is, and always has been, to maintain safe patient care and deliver the best possible health outcomes. What more do they have to do for their voices to be heard by this government?
“We will continue to campaign for shift-by-shift ratios until the state government listens and acts,” he said.