Nurses and midwives oppose attack on wages

Monday 8th October, 2012

NSW Nurses & Midwives Association (NSWNMA) members around the State, especially many of the 1200 working in the disability sector, will join today's Day of Action, by State public servants, against the latest Liberal and National Coalition's attack on NSW public sector employees' rights at work.

NSWNMA members at many facilities have decided to join the protest against the O'Farrell Government's attempt to undermine the rights at work of tens of thousands of public servants, disability nurses and, potentially, a range of other people such as public hospital nurses, midwives, police officers, firefighters and school teachers. At this stage the nursing and midwifery campaign activity is not expected to impact on patient care. Given the nature of nursing and midwifery work, most of today's supportive action will be local and workplace based.

NSWNMA general secretary, Brett Holmes, said the State Government, through its application to vary the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Award, is clearly trying to reduce the incomes of vital employees such as nurses and midwives and their support staff.

"The full extent of what Mr O'Farrell is trying to do has become much clearer in recent days.

"The State Government has brought an application into the NSW Industrial Relations Commssion (NSW IRC), aimed at reducing the take home pay and working conditions of thousands of NSW people and their families. It is now clear this attack also involves nurses and midwives - something that has been confirmed in the NSW IRC.

"The two nursing awards initially and immediately under attack are the:

  • Nurses' (Department of Family and Community Services - Ageing, Disability and Home Care) (State) Award 2011; and
  • Crown Employees Nurses' (State) Award 2011.

"The State Government has admitted, to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, that the NSWNMA needs to take an interest in this case, which involves an extensive attack on the working conditions of many public sector employees. I can assure Mr O'Farrell and the State Governemnt the NSWNMA will be doing much more than that.

"Nurse and midwives understand this is the first step towards ripping away the important wage and condition improvements, won by the NSWNMA in recent years, which are helping to maintain nursing and midwifery as attractive career options.

"The NSWNMA is fully across what the State Governemnt is trying to do with this application against public servants and it will vigorously oppose this unjustified attack on the income and rights of NSW wage and salary earners, including nurses and midwives in disability services," Mr Holmes said.