Nurses and Midwives Fighting for our Communities Left Out In Cold from Wage Freeze

“On International Nurse’s Day 2020 our Nurses and Midwives have been left out in the cold by plans by the Berejiklian Government to push through legislation for a public sector wage freeze” said State Member for the Electorate of Cessnock, Clayton Barr MP. The plans could be introduced as early as this week with NSW Parliament resuming for a special session today.

In NSW there are approximately 100,000 nurses and midwives who have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic providing care and support for our communities. The proposed cuts are a striking blow. Mr Barr said “This is a cruel and disrespectful act by the Berejiklian Government who are out of touch and it shows the lack of respect the NSW Government has for public servants who are the glue that holds our society together.”

“The middle of a pandemic is hardly the time to introduce a wage freezes for frontline nurses and midwives who are continually going above and beyond and making sacrifices for our communities, especially as a projected ‘second wave’ of cases are imminent” said Mr Barr.

Nurses and midwives are currently being asked to do more, show up for their shifts and put themselves and their families at risk of contracting the virus. Over the course of the pandemic nurses and midwives have been abused, spat on and forced to deal with lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to provide care. The Nurses and Midwives Association have stated “It’s a horrible reflections of what our Government really thinks of Nurses and Midwives particularly through this pandemic and YNM2020 (Year of Nurses and Midwives 2020).

Clayton Barr questions how the NSW Government and in particular Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, who has been constantly quoted as saying he will “always put people before numbers” can justify a wage freeze on our frontline health workers. “I am outraged by the underhanded tactics the Government have employed to try and pass this legislation”.

State Nurses and Midwives Association General Secretary Brett Holmes said “The government cannot deny the sacrifices of frontline workers, especially when more than half of the 144 NSW Health workers who have contracted COVID-19, acquired it while at work.”

“Our nurses, midwives and health care workers deserve recognition, praise and support. They should not have to be worried about wage freezes brought about by a government that has shown its lack of appreciation for our public servants” said Mr Barr.

Clayton Barr said “My Labor colleagues and I will be standing up for our frontline workers and take the fight to the Berejiklian Government to abandon this proposed pay cut.”