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The Minns Government has offered pay rises to nurses that are under what the unions are asking for. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gaye Gerard.

NSW offers nurses pay rise, short of unions demands

The NSW government has offered public sector workers, including nurses, a three-year pay rise worth 10.5 per cent, which is well under the demands of some of the unions.

The Minns government announced the offer last Monday, and it applies to workers whose industrial agreements are due for renewals, including nurses.

The offer includes a four per cent pay rise in the first year, 3.5 per cent in the second, and three per cent in the third, including a superannuation increase of 0.5 per cent in July this and next year.

Workers will also receive a $1000 'cost-of-living' protection payment if inflation exceeds 4.5 per cent in any year.

State Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said the offer is higher than those for public sectors in other states and will deliver wage growth that surpasses the projected cost of living increases over the next three financial years in accordance with the Sydney Consumer Price Index (CPI).

"This is about giving certainty for hard-working families across NSW, with a [three-year] offer to see pay and conditions improve," he said.

"It creates a new, fair framework that can deliver a better outcome for everyone."

The recent forecast by Mr Mookhey is for Sydney CPI to be 3.1 per cent in 2024-25, 2.7 per cent in 2025-26, and 2.5 per cent in 2026-27.

The government said the new offer was a starting point and hoped to have a "collaborative approach to bargaining" with the unions.

"Crucially, unions and agencies can now sit down to find these mutually-agreed improvements during the life of an agreement – something unavailable under the former government," the statement read.

Industrial Relations Minister Sophie Cotsis said the government was delivering on their promises of "scrapping the wages cap".

"After 12 years of neglect – of no industrial relations reforms and no award reforms – we are now fixing the system," Ms Cotsis said.

"The work of rebuilding essential services is not well underway.

"This baseline offer lays the foundation for a fairer system for workers and their families in NSW."

The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) has been calling for a 15 per cent pay rise and warned that it would pursue more action to build up the depleting sector.

As part of their claim, the NSWNMA seeks a 30 per cent penalty rate for night shifts, increasing sick leave to 20 days, 100 per cent salary packaging, more midwives working in midwifery group practices, and funding to meet nurse-to-patient ratios – which was introduced last week at Royal North Shore and Liverpool Hospital.

NSWNMA general secretary Shaye Candish said the "blanket" proposal was not in response to the claim, nor was it a formal offer to the union.

"Our members are angry that the government could consider [three per cent] as a starting point to redress the many years of wage suppression under previous governments," Ms Candish said.

"The NSWNMA’s one-year 15 per cent pay claim takes into account the decades of neglect by successive Liberal governments. It’s now up to the Labor government to fix this and pay nurses and midwives properly.

"If the government is serious about attracting and retaining nurses and midwives in the public health system, it must pay them a wage that is competitive with other states like Qld, and make NSW a rewarding and robust location to work in once again."

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