The Guardian • Issue #2023


Nurses strike for better pay and conditions

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2023

Earlier this month, Nurses and midwives across NSW went on strike for 24 hours, while maintaining life-preserving care. The demands are simple: The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) wants one nurse for every four patients to ensure that the system is not understaffed and patients get quality care. This is the third strike this year.

Strike action was important, said NSWNMA secretary Shaye Candish, stating:

“The NSW government has missed another opportunity to address the systemic issues impacting its own health workforce. The same workforce attempting to keep the doors of their public hospitals or health services open to local communities despite widespread challenges […]. After 21 months of evidence and more than 700 submissions, our members are outraged the NSW government has again chosen to ignore evidence-based workplace solutions, such as safe nursing and midwifery staffing ratios […]. We acknowledge the NSW government’s vague but much-needed allocation of extra nurses and midwives for regional areas, and the recruitment and retention incentives package, but unless they address the shocking working conditions staff are enduring, patients will continue to be at risk.”

NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites echoed what Candish stated, emphasising that in rural Australia:

“the level of healthcare afforded to regional patients is inadequate and this was supported by evidence from our members attempting to deliver that care, yet the NSW government response largely refers to maintaining a status quo on staffing and various conditions within the current nurses and midwives Award.”

Whaites also added that “if the NSW government ignores this and the evidence that safe staffing ratios save lives and money, many health services will remain at risk.”

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet believes, however, that the current offer is “fair, reasonable and generous.”

CPA members went to the strikes to show their solidarity with the striking workers, commenting on the action, New South Wales State Committee Assistant President Franc Stregone stated that:

“It’s an outrage that our healthcare workers have had to strike not once, not twice, but three times. These are the frontline faces of the pandemic, and they still risk exposing themselves to COVID-19 every day they show up to work. It is not unreasonable that our state government listens to these demands that not only improve the lives of these healthcare workers but also the community. Better pay will only go so far in attracting more people into this industry, a commitment to ratios is also important. We are facing a healthcare crisis, and Perrottet doesn’t seem to understand it!”

The Guardian can also be viewed/downloaded in PDF format. View More