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NSW government targets pay and conditions

The NSW government has applied to vary the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Award in an effort to change the pay and working conditions of public-sector employees.

The move is set to affect thousands of public servants, disability nurses, public hospital nurses, midwives, firefighters and police officers.

Members of the NSW Nurses & Midwives Association (NSWNMA) and the Public Service Association of NSW (PSA) have joined forces to fight what they have called “the latest Liberal-National Coalition attack on NSW public-sector employees’ rights at work”.

Public servants and nurses around the state staged stop-work protests and rallies in October.

The proposed changes include the abolishment of leave loading, he cutting of penalty rates and annual leave for shift workers, and the abolishment of family and community services leave.

“Many of the changes will directly affect nurses who work in disability services in NSW,” said the NSWNMA’s Lisa Kremmer. “So our nurses working for Ageing, Disability & Home Care, which is their employer, will suffer the same consequences as the PSA should the changes go through.

“We want to send a strong message to the O’Farrell government that the workers of NSW deserve better; they deserve fair pay for a fair day’s work. They have fought hard for conditions over many years, so why aren’t workers a priority?”

Brett Holmes, the NSWNMA’s general secretary, believes that this is the first step towards reversing wage and conditions improvements that have helped nursing and midwifery remain attractive career options.

“The NSWNMA is fully across what the state government is trying to do,” he said, “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.”

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