Nurses and midwives’ wages left behind

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has reiterated calls for the Berejiklian Government to value nurses and midwives by reversing its cuts to public sector wages.

In today’s NSW Budget, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet delivered nurses and midwives more pain, confirming all public sector wage increases would be capped at a paltry 1.5% over four years.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, rejected the Berejiklian Government’s economic argument that revenue from public sector wage cuts would stimulate the state’s economy and said the Treasurer’s extreme approach to find savings would have the opposite effect.

“Public sector nurses and midwives who received a modest 2.5% wage increase in previous years, have had their wages frozen at 0.3% this year, and now face the prospect of never seeing their wages rise by more than 1.5%,” Mr Holmes said.

“In fact, the Treasurer has not ruled out 0% increases for nurse and midwives, no matter how hard they work or how many lives they save.

“The impact of this wage freeze on local communities, particularly in rural and regional areas, will be enormous and the new 1.5% cap will lock NSW into a low wages-growth economy for the next four years.

“This low wages outlook for public sector workers will also hurt private sector employees, whose wages are often influenced by the public sector.

“The original 2.5% wages cap, introduced in 2011, was a bad economic policy, made worse today now by a Treasurer hell bent on taking money out of the pockets of hardworking nurses and midwives.

Mr Holmes welcomed increased funding in today’s Budget for personal protective equipment, resources to fast-track elective surgery and hospital upgrades.

“Increased investment in healthcare resources is positive news however, the Treasurer has squandered efforts to stimulate the economy by cutting the wages of health care staff.”