LAKE Macquarie nurses and midwives have called the NSW Government's 0.3 per cent pay offer "insulting" after supporting the community through the fires, the floods, and the pandemic on the frontline.
Nurses rallied outside Belmont Hospital on Wednesday to protest a 0.3 per cent pay rise instead of the "pre-arranged, pre-budgeted, pre-agreed" increase of 2.5 per cent.
"There seems to be no regard from the government to adhere to the wage policy they had with us around a minimum 2.5 per cent wage increase," Fiona Mitchell, member of the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association's Belmont branch, said.
"It's not really just us nurses, it's all of our frontline staff in the public sector - the firies, the paramedics, the police, teachers, and the nursing staff... 0.3 per cent seems so insulting given what that group of professionals have done in the past 12 months. They have led the way through the bushfires, the floods, and the pandemic, and now, for the government to turn around and not even honour a pre-arranged, pre-budgeted, pre-agreed 2.5 per cent pay rise, and instead offer this 0.3, feels awful."
In May, the NSW Government announced plans for a 12-month freeze on a scheduled 2.5 per cent wage increase for more than 400,000 public sector workers. But the move was blocked by the NSW Upper House in June.
The NSW Government took the fight to the Industrial Relations Commission, which ruled that workers would be awarded a 0.3 per cent pay rise.
Ms Mitchell said the offer devalued the work and the essential role of nurses - one which had been appreciated more than ever during the pandemic. She said Gladys Berejiklian had awarded NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller a pay rise of $87,000 while denying the likes of nurses and paramedics their scheduled increase.
Related: Pay freeze ain't cool
"These frontline workers have done nothing but be professional and lead the way in what has been a really tough 12 months," she said.
"It is also the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, and this just seems like the biggest statement, the biggest devaluation, of a group of professionals."
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.