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Our campaign for a 15% pay rise

Public sector nurses and midwives in New South Wales are calling for justified and necessary improvements to help rebuild our public health services.

As part of these improvements, we are demanding a 15% pay increase, plus superannuation, for all nurses and midwives from 1 July 2024.

High levels of exhaustion and a decade of wage suppression, coupled with rising cost-of-living pressures, have taken a considerable toll on the nursing and midwifery workforce across our state.

As the largest healthcare workforce, it is essential to look at the investment needed to sustain our nursing and midwifery professions into the future. The viability of our health system depends on it.

Enabling nurses and midwives to achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance would deliver enormous benefit to both the system and patient outcomes. It will also help retain the knowledge and skills of experienced nurses and midwives, and leave a lasting effect on care.

It’s time to recognise the important contribution nurses and midwives make. This can be done by paying them a fair and deserving wage. NSW nurses and midwives deserve more in 2024.

Where are we up to?

6 June 2024

This afternoon, the NSWNMA held its first 2024 Award claim negotiations with the Ministry of Health, where members of the PHS Log of Claims Committee clearly expressed member’s demands. The Ministry was not in a position to improve the insulting offer of 10.5% over three years.

Your Award claim seeks a one-year 15% pay increase, and we believe this is necessary in the current economic climate.

A justified Award claim

To help inform our position, and ensure our campaign is grounded in strong economic evidence, the NSWNMA sought expert industrial relations and labour market advice from the University of Sydney’s Professor John Buchanan, alongside Dr Troy Henderson, and Associate Professor Jo-An Occhipinti.

Their report, Escaping NSW Treasury’s Curse, examines the financial factors at play. It shows that our ask of 15% is entirely reasonable and justifiable. The NSWNMA took the Ministry through the report, reinforcing that we have the evidence to justify our claim.

Escaping NSW Treasury’s Curse demonstrates the devastating impact of the former government’s public sector wages cap, the ongoing effects of inflation, and how our state lags others in seriously recognising the contributions of nurses and midwives.

The wages of nurses and midwives have fallen by more than 10% in real terms over the last four years. In fact, the buying power of their wages is at 2007 levels. Now is the time for Treasurer Daniel Mookhey to take steps to make this right!

The NSWNMA Council will meet tomorrow to consider our next steps.

Hear from Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites, Muswellbrook District Hospital Branch Delegate, Peggy Smith, and South East Regional Hospital Branch President, Diane Lang below.

Previous updates

31 May 2024

Earlier this month we served public health system member’s 2024 Award claim on the Ministry of Health, and we want to update you on how this is progressing.

On 19 May, the state government wrote to all public sector unions, including the NSWNMA, indicating a baseline position of a blanket 4% public sector pay offer (or 10.5% over three years).

On Wednesday, the NSWNMA received a letter of offer from the government, confirming the above pay proposal as a formal offer. This is well below our Award claim ask of 15% over one year (plus Super), and we are still yet to have our first negotiation meeting.

The government’s offer is just not good enough. However, in line with our democratic processes, the offer will be put to your NSWNMA Council.

Next steps:

  • 6 June: First negotiation meeting to be held
  • 6 June: Spreading our message at NRLW State of Origin
  • 7 June: Council meets to review government’s offer  and make recommendations to branches.
  • 12-13 June: Member leaders from across NSW gather for training and campaign launch
  • 17-28 June: Branches will be invited to meet and consider Council’s recommendations, including any possible industrial action.

Members of the PHS Log of Claims Committee will be present on 6 June at our first official negotiations with the Ministry. The Committee will be there to reinforce our member’s demands.  

Later that day, members from the Hunter and Central Coast will be at the NRLW State of Origin in Newcastle to spread the word about our fight! Branches in all other Local Health Districts are invited to hold a watch party – more information will be provided to members in the coming days. 

The claim we have put to the Ministry is justified and necessary. We know nurses and midwives deserve more in 2024, and we’re committed to fighting for the improvements to pay and conditions that our members deserve.

21 May 2024

The Association is eagerly awaiting the commencement of negotiations with the Ministry of Health regarding the 2024 Award claim we served earlier this month. The claim includes a pay ask of 15% over one year (plus Super).

Last Sunday evening, the state government wrote to public service unions, including the Association, indicating its baseline position of a blanket 4% public sector pay offer (or 10.5% over three years).

We must stress that this proposal has not been made in response to our 2024 pay claim, nor is it a formal offer to the Association.

What this recent media coverage shows is that less than a month out from our state’s budget, the NSW government has failed to read the room. Stumbling at the first hurdle is not good enough when our state’s health system is at stake.

The following motion was overwhelmingly passed at our Committee of Delegates (COD) meeting today:

This COD deems the government position on pay of 19 May 2024 as a media announcement, not a genuine offer on pay for the NSWNMA in response to our claim. Our members look forward to negotiations commencing between NSWNMA and the MoH, and we will continue to fight for our claim including a 15% pay rise over 1 year.

In the past year we’ve seen other public sector workers, including paramedics and teachers, receive substantial pay increases. It is time the state government turned its full attention to nurses and midwives who have already experienced more than a decade of neglect under previous Liberal governments.

Now is our time. NSW nurses and midwives deserve more in 2024.

17 May 2024 

On 17 May 2024, NSWNMA representatives met with the Ministry of Health to set out the bargaining timetable and processes for discussing your 2024 Award claim.

Your elected Log of Claims Committee members will be taking part in these negotiations when they commence.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the progress of these negotiations.

In the meantime, it is important that we keep sending our message to the NSW Treasurer: nurses and midwives deserve more in 2024.

10 May 2024

The Association served the 2024 Award claim on the Ministry of Health on Friday 10 May 2024, seeking that negotiations commence.

The draft claim was overwhelmingly endorsed by public sector branches last month. The Association is committed to fighting for the improvements to pay and conditions that members deserve, and we’re prepared for the robust conversations with government that lie ahead.

At the heart of our claim is a one year, 15% increase in pay, plus superannuation, from 1 July.

We’re also fighting for additional improvements, including:

  • a 30% penalty rate for night shifts,
  • increasing sick leave to 20 days,
  • 100% salary packaging,
  • an increase for midwives working in midwifery group practice,
  • better work-life balance with consecutive rostered days off, and no changes to published rosters unless consulted.

The Association has also sought further funding for nurse-to-patient ratios to be rolled out in every ward and unit in every public hospital, across the five agreed clinical areas of emergency departments, intensive care units, medical/surgical and mental health wards, maternity and multi-purpose services, ensuring the government delivers its Safe Staffing policy in full.  We’ve sought further funding to convert AiN positions to being supernumerary too

The NSWNMA Elected Officers are committed to fighting for this claim, standing side-by-side with members to ensure the government hears our message loud and clear: NSW nurses and midwives deserve more in 2024.


Ratios Snapshot 2024

2024 PHS Log of Claims to Government

Download our we deserve 15% - Poster

Download our nurses and midwives deserve more in 2024 - Poster

Read Escaping NSW Treasury’s Curse

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