NSW mental health nurses strike for pay and conditions

June 3, 2021
Nurses take action in Newcastle. Photo: Niko Leka

The Waratah Mental Health Branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association, along with Belmont and other hospitals, took strike action against the New South Wales government’s insulting 1.04% pay rise offer and its refusal to agree to formal nurse-to-patient ratios.

After a packed branch meeting, more than 40 members voted in a secret ballot and unanimously decided to strike for 24 hours. Many had not done this before and their determination shows how deeply and widely-felt these workplace injustices are.

We know that if the government can treat frontline workers with such disrespect during a pandemic when such workers are vital, it has even more draconian measures up its sleeve.

We are taking action not only for our patients and ourselves, but for other workers.

We are not going to keep begging for the staff that should be provided. We are not going to flog ourselves with unrelenting levels of stress for yesterday’s wages. We will not stop until we win.

[Niko Leka is the president of the Waratah Mental Health branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association.]

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