“It’s outrageous, to freeze our wages.”
That was the cry from protesting nurses and midwives at one of Newcastle’s main intersections on Tuesday afternoon.
The chants were directed at the Gladys Berejiklian-led NSW government after it announced last month that it would freeze public sector wages for 2020.
Dodging the rain and cold temperatures, two dozen health care workers rallied at lunchtime at the Lookout Road intersection, gaining much-wanted attention from passing traffic.
NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) Hunter branch president, David Pfanner, said the protest was the result of group members feeling disappointed with the Premier’s decision.
“After all the hard work everyone’s done in the last three months and everything we’ve been through and in the year of the nurse, it’s disappointing,” he said.
Mr Pfanner said the group’s actions had a direct effect on the local economy.
“We have over 2,000 members,” he said.
“Without the wage increase they’re not going to have any leftover to spend and directly help the local economy.”
Nurse Lucy Sanderson-Dyer, employed at Tweed Hospital, travelled this morning to join her fellow colleagues.
“As soon as I heard the borders were reopening, I got down here to join these guys,” she said.
Of the two dozen protestors, Ms Sanderson-Dyer said it was a shame just two of them were there to represent the younger generation.
“There’s only two of us here under 30 and that’s a shame,” she said.
“These guys will retire and it will be our generation that loses out.
“This directly affects our super and our retirement.”
Ms Sanderson-Dyer said nurses were accommodating by nature.
“They don’t complain, they don’t like fighting or appearing to get upset about this sort of stuff but we have to if we want to earn enough for our futures,” she said.
“It’s a really hard job – it is mentally exhausting [and] we deserve this small thank you.”