Health workers to strike in NSW over pay

Updated April 5 2022 - 12:43pm, first published April 4 2022 - 9:40am

Thousands of health and hospital workers across ambulance, cleaning, allied health, administration, security, catering and wards will walk off the job this Thursday to demand a genuine pay rise as opposed to the pay cut being offered by the State Government.

Nurses went on strike earlier this year.
Nurses went on strike earlier this year.

The Health Services Union said despite attempts to open up the State's hospital awards and begin genuine bargaining for productivity-based pay rises, health and hospital workers have been left with no alternative.

"Everything is going up except their pay. The most recent quarterly figures showed inflation running at 3.5 per cent, with economists tipping it will hit five per cent within months.

Under the NSW wages cap, public sector pay increase can not legally exceed 2.5 per cent.

Gerard Hayes, HSU NSW Secretary said workers are fed up.

"Health and hospital workers are sick of mealy-mouthed rhetoric. We don't need another politician thanking us for being heroes of the pandemic, we need a pay rise.

"When politicians and managers retreated to air-conditioned zoom meetings, paramedics, ward assistants and security guards exposed themselves to COVID, without a vaccine, and often without masks and protective gear. We did our bit for the community.

"Now as the pandemic subsides, health and hospital workers are being smashed by higher prices and stagnant wages. The rent on a three bedroom home in Sydney surged 11.3 per cent in the last year. And everyone knows mortgage interest rates are set to double.

"Every time a hospital worker fills up at the bowser they're being stung for more than two dollars a litre.

"Unfortunately this tightfisted approach spills over to the private sector. If a therapist in a public hospital can't get more than 2.5 per cent, how does someone in an aged care facility doing the same work bargain for higher wages?

"NSW and the nation desperately need higher wages and this needs to start in the NSW health system."