Nurses protest NSW wage freeze

Photo: Niko Leka

Mental health nurses from the Waratah Mental Health Centre protested the NSW government's effective wage freeze on October 15 outside their hospital.

The New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission ruled on October 1 that the wages of more than 400,000 public sector workers will “rise” by just 0.3% over the next 12 months — 60 cents a day for the average worker. 

NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWMA) Waratah Mental Health Centre Branch assistant secretary Louise Haskins told the protest: “We would like to invite the premier, treasurer and health minister to come and work a shift in our workplace. That shift could be an 18-hour overtime shift … then tell me that we don’t deserve our scheduled increase of 2.5%!”

After relying on nurses and midwives through the COVID-19 crisis, it is clear the Berejiklian government does not value nurses’ work. Not only does the decision disrespect nurses’ work, it sends a message to future nurses and midwives, entering the public health system, that they are not valued.

The NSWMA branch decided to organise its first action outside their hospital to let the public know their views. They were greeted with lots of enthusiastic support from passing traffic.