Nurses reject 1.04% pay offer

Mental health nurses take action on May 12. Photo: Niko Leka

Mental health nurses from Belmont, John Hunter, Morriset, Maitland and the Waratah Mental Health branch rallied on May 12, International Nurses Day, outside their hospitals.

They were rejecting the NSW government’s latest insulting pay rise offer — 1.04% over 2021–2022 — and its refusal to agree to better staff to patient ratios and appropriate COVID-19 conditions.

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) pointed to new research which showed better patient outcomes in hospitals with better patient ratios.

“The NSW government must stop relying on nurses’ goodwill to stay at the bedside. They deserve to be valued with shift-by-shift ratios and fair pay,” NSWNMA general secretary Brett Holmes said.

Prince of Wales Hospital Mental Health Branch Secretary Skye Romer said, after being on the frontline during the pandemic, the urgent need for ratios was crystal clear.

“Our workloads are not sustainable. We’re tired. We’re burning out and we feel unsupported at work, she said.

“We’ve been seeking ratios in NSW public hospitals for over a decade and in residential aged care for even longer, but stubborn governments refuse to listen. Now, we don’t even feel like celebrating our own professional day.”

MMichelle Birkett, Louise Hasking and Niko Leka, secretary, vice secretary and president of the Waratah Mental Health branch of the NSWNMA.