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31 March, 2022

Nurses to strike TODAY

Today, March 31, the Gilgandra branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) have plans to strike for an hour.

By Emily Middleton

Between 12:30pm and 1:30pm, a rally will happen in the plaza of Miller street, as part of a statewide strike action across the whole NSWNMA.

According to the NSWNMA, the NSW government has once again failed to address the ongoing staffing crisis inside public hospitals, and have failed to commit to further talks on workplace improvements, since an initial strike almost six weeks ago.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said nurses and midwives were deeply distressed by the government’s refusal to acknowledge the public health system crisis.

“In the past five weeks there have been multiple ‘code yellow’ incidents across the state, which signals an internal staffing emergency inside a health facility. These are becoming more frequent across metropolitan and regional sites because of the staffing issues,” said Mr Holmes.

“We’ve had ongoing reports of nurses and midwives working double shifts and increased amounts of overtime, gaps in staffing rosters going unfilled for weeks, vacant positions being left unfilled for months, as well as daily text messages begging staff to pick up extra shifts.

“Our members are scathing of the government’s unwillingness to continue an open dialogue with us about their claim for shift-by-shift nurse-to-patient ratios, improved maternity staffing and a modest pay rise.”

According to the NSWNMA, they have had no offer from the government since meeting with the NSW premier on February 21.

“This is a problem of the government’s own making,” said NSWNMA assistant general secretary, Shaye Candish. “We’ve now got a situation where more and more experienced nurses and midwives are choosing to retire early, scaling back availability for shift work or leaving the profession all together.” Most NSWNMA members are striking for 24 hours on Thursday, however Gilgandra members will only be striking for one hour. Suring the strike action, life-preserving services will be maintained in all public hospitals and heal services.

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