To celebrate International Nurses’ Day, the NSW government has floated the possibility of a pay freeze for NSW public sector workers.
And the union representing nurses and midwives in the state is none too happy that this is being considered during a pandemic.
"On the eve of International Nurses' Day, the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association has attacked plans by the NSW government to ram through legislation for a public sector wage freeze, as early as tomorrow (Tuesday) when parliament resumes for special sessions," NSWNMA general secretary Brett Holmes said.
Holmes said nurses were devastated that front-line health and other public sector workers face a wage freeze.
“It’s no surprise our members are upset the government intends to bring on this wage freeze, instead of honouring a modest 2.5 per cent pay increase from 1 July,” said Holmes.
“Over 93 per cent of our public sector members indicated their opposition to a wage freeze in a snap poll, while more than 4000 have emailed their ... state MPs, urging them to reject it.
“While risking their lives to protect our community during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s abhorrent to be asking front-line nurses to do more for less.
Holmes said all nurses deserved to be recognised for the sacrifices they continue to make, and a pay freeze is a “disgrace", especially at a time when nurses have been "spat on and abused, forced to deal with a lack of personal protective equipment, and put themselves, and their families, at risk each shift" during the COVID-19 crisis.
Assistant general secretary Judith Kiejda reiterated the importance of International Nurses’ Day.
“We kicked off 2020 preparing celebrations to recognise our professions for the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. However, COVID-19 unfolded and has been a wrecking ball around the globe,” Kiejda said.
“Sadly, more than 270 nurses across 29 countries have died in the fight against COVID-19. Tonight, nurses in Australia and New Zealand will honour their lives, tragically lost while caring for COVID-19 patients.”
The national union, the ANMF, is celebrating the day by holding an online vigil, remembering those nurses who have passed during the pandemic.
ANMF federal secretary Annie Butler said: “We have been very fortunate in this regard in Australia, but we want to honour the sacrifice of our global nursing colleagues on this IND.
"The ANMF, in collaboration with the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation, will tonight hold an online candlelight vigil at 7pm (AEST) to commemorate the dedication of our lost colleagues to caring for their patients and residents.
“Nurses’ extraordinary commitment and dedication for those in their care has definitely been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But what we’re seeing in these extraordinary times is in fact what nurses, and midwives and care-workers, do every day, in every circumstance, for those in their care. Nursing is always extraordinary work, but in normal times, it is often less visible.”
To watch the International Nurses' Day video and the COVID-19 Nurses Vigil, go to the ANMF’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AustralianNursingandMidwiferyFederation/Do you have an idea for a story?
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