Wage freeze fight continues for nurses and midwives

Nurses and midwives will continue to stare down the NSW Government’s cruel public sector wage freeze, with a showdown now set for the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (NSW IRC).

Despite Labor, the Greens and almost all crossbenchers successfully blocking the wage freeze from passing the Parliament, the government will attempt to bulldoze it through the NSW IRC from tomorrow.

NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said members were relieved a disallowance motion succeeded last night and would not back down from the fight to secure their 2.5% pay increase.

“The government is confident it can convince the NSW IRC that nurses, midwives and other public sector workers are worth 0% in their contribution to the state,” said Mr Holmes.

“Nurses and midwives face an enormous workload in the recovery from COVID-19, including tackling a massive elective surgery backlog, yet the government thinks this extra productivity amounts to zero.

“It’s an insulting argument by the government which polarises and devalues thousands of nurses and midwives who already feel like yesterday’s heroes. They’ve been put at risk by poor supply and shoddy quality Personal Protective Equipment by a government unprepared for the pandemic.

“In another act of desperation, the Treasurer and Premier are now trying to blackmail nurses and midwives with threats of forced redundancies. They’ve effectively told nurses and midwives they could be sacked, in order to create jobs for others – this is another insult to the NSW community.

“Nurses and midwives perform a vital service. Threats by the government to cut jobs from the public sector lacks common sense. At the last election, the Berejiklian Government promised 5,000 more nurses and midwives to meet increasing demand, now as we lift out of the pandemic government is threatening not to deliver on this commitment and sack even more.

“Whether public services are in hospitals, schools, correctional centres, family and community services, transport, or on the street with firefighters, paramedics and police, they are all essential.

“Public sector workers keep our communities safe and moving, alongside others, by spending their wages in local economies. The government should not be threatening jobs as an excuse for cutting their pay into the future. The Treasurer is deliberately ignoring the fact the public sector’s 2.5% pay increase was initially determined as a stimulus to our economy.”

The NSWNMA filed an application to NSW IRC last month, in an effort to secure the 2.5% pay increase for nurses and midwives. The case is ongoing before the NSW IRC.

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