Mass industrial action involving thousands of health and hospital workers in ambulance, cleaning, paramedic health, administration, security, catering and services will continue tomorrow after a hearing today at the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.
After weighing the arguments of the union and the Ministry of Health, the Commission has opted for a conciliation hearing next week.
It comes after repeated attempts by the Health Services Union to open up state hospital rewards and start real negotiations for productivity-based wage increases fell on deaf ears. . Under the NSW salary cap, public sector wage increases cannot legally exceed 2.5%.
HSU is campaigning for a 5.5% salary increase to account for the impact of the pandemic and soaring cost of living, as well as a broader change that replaces the state salary cap with genuine bargaining to reflect improved skills and health productivity in the workforce.
The most recent quarterly figures showed inflation running at 3.5%, with economists predicting it will top 5% within months.
“Healthcare and hospital workers are at breaking point,” said Gerard Hayes, secretary of HSU NSW.
“They were exposed to COVID without a vaccine or proper protective gear for months. Then they endured exhaustion and anxiety. They were rewarded with soaring prices and collapsing real wages.
“We are tired of being called heroes. Being called a hero doesn’t put money in the bank when you’re skinny before payday.
“Rents in Sydney and the regions have jumped more than 10%. Mortgage rates are about to double and gasoline is exploding,” Hayes said.
“We need meaningful action on wages.”
What is happening
HSU paramedics are holding a sick leave meeting from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., emergency response will continue. HSU members at major metropolitan hospitals will stop work for four hours beginning at 10 a.m.
HSU members at regional hospitals will stop work for two hours starting at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m.
In Coffs Harbor and Lismore there will be a gathering of members at 10am.