NSW nurses and midwives to strike next Tuesday in response to budget

Nurses and midwives across NSW will walk off the job next week in protest of the state government’s recent budget announcements.

Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association from 80 hospitals will stop work for between two and 24 hours next Tuesday.

Striking workers at Liverpool and Bankstown Hospital will stop work for 24 hours, while staff at Westmead, Blacktown, Campbelltown, and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital will walk off the job for 12 hours.

The industrial action comes after demands by the union were unmet in yesterday’s budget, including pay rises in line with inflation and staff-to-patient ratio requirements. 

The Royal National Bank has said inflation was likely to reach 7 per cent this year, increasing from 5.1 per cent at present. 

Public sector workers will receive a 3 per cent pay rise this year, and depending on productivity, a further 0.5 per cent next year.

And all healthcare staff will get a $3,000 “thank you” bonus for their work during the pandemic. 

As part of a $4.5 billion package funding the health sector, more than 10,000 extra staff, including 3,517 nurses and 200 midwives will be hired. 

But Michael Whaites, spokesman for the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, said the government’s offer was like a “slap in the face”.

“We know that nurses and midwives can’t stay if their workloads are not safe,” Mr Whaites said.

It will be the third time nurses and midwives have voted to take industrial action this year, after striking for 24 hours in February and March.

The industrial action will include a stop work meeting from 2pm at Sydney Town Hall, where members will determine a response to the budget.

A union spokesperson has told the ABC that further industrial action was likely.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard has been contacted for comment.

Teachers from NSW’s public and Catholic schools will go on strike on Thursday, June 30, over a dispute about pay and staff shortages.

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