Nurses slam proposed wage freeze

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Plans for a public sector wage freeze have been slammed as a “disgrace”.

On the eve of International Nurses’ Day – Tuesday 12 May – the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) has criticised a proposal by the NSW Government to ram through legislation for a public sector wage freeze as early as tomorrow, when parliament resumes for special sessions.

The NSWNMA, together with public sector unions, have called on state opposition and crossbench politicians to vigorously reject any wage freeze proposals.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, labelled NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet a hypocrite for claiming to “always put people before numbers”, then deny workers on the COVID-19 frontline, including nurses and midwives, a modest wage increase from 1 July.

“The middle of a pandemic is hardly the time to be asking frontline nurses and midwives to suck it up, show up for their shifts and do even more for less,” he said.

“The government cannot deny the sacrifices of frontline workers, especially when more than half of the 144 NSW Health workers who have contracted COVID-19, acquired it while at work.

“Thousands of nurses, midwives, other health sector workers and public servants are risking their lives daily to keep fellow citizens safe.

“These workers deserve recognition, not attempts by government to send wages backwards and our economy into further turmoil.

“We are all preparing for a second wave of COVID-19, yet the government is asking nurses and midwives to do more for less, putting the budget bottom line before people in need.

“The Treasurer wants to ignore the efforts of frontline workers and unions operating in good faith, by planning a wage freeze for all public sector workers.”

He added that the proposed freeze is “a disgrace” as nurses put themselves at risk and have been abused and forced to deal with a lack of personal protective equipment.

The NSWNMA has begun lobbying the opposition and crossbenchers to reject the government’s public sector wage freeze.