Hospital patients and rising cost of living front of mind for nurses and midwives on strike

Published: 29/06/2022
Category: Workers rights
Published: 29/06/2022
Category: Workers rights

Going on strike in any industry is a last resort. 

But NSW nurses and midwives have had to do it not once, not twice, but now three times this year.  

Yesterday, nurses and midwives from hospitals across NSW took industrial action to improve extreme workloads and patient care, as well as wages and conditions.  

Others would have taken the same action, but the NSW healthcare system has reached so close to breaking point that they felt they couldn’t do so without putting lives at risk due to short staffing.  

It speaks volumes about their desperation – they can’t go on any longer in the current conditions – and their commitment to patients’ health and wellbeing.  

They are exhausted well beyond what we, as a community, and the NSW Liberal Government, should consider acceptable. 

Vague promises from the NSW Government without a commitment to staff-to-patient ratios are not enough.

The past two years have been the final straw in what is already an overstrained healthcare system. So, it comes as no surprise that there has been a steady flow of nurses and midwives leaving the sector.  

As NSW Nurses and Midwives Association member Jess explains, there are plenty of nurses available to hire, but the problem is budgets are not accommodating for new nurses and are instead relying on existing employees to work excessive overtime hours.  

“We’re not walking off the job because we just want pay. We’re advocating for our patients – that’s our number one responsibility,” Jess says. 

“We want to work in a safe environment with safe staffing and safe workloads, which is why we’re arguing for the ratios,” she says.  

Even when nurses and midwives are hired and start out in the field, short staffing means there isn’t enough senior staff to available to train and support graduates.  

Nurses and midwives in unions stick up for one another

Striking unionised nurses walk down the steps of NSW parliament with placards in hand

Nurses and midwives in unions have been using their power in numbers to make sure their concerns for their own safety and safety of patients do not go unheard.  

It is a massive feat for nurses and midwives across multiple NSW hospitals to strike at the same time. Union members know this is the most effective way to show how serious the situation is due to the inaction of the NSW Liberal Government.  

NSW healthcare workers need higher patient-to-staff ratios. And with the cost-of-living spike and their heroic efforts through the pandemic, they deserve a pay rise. Union members coming together to stand up for one another is how we make those demands a reality.  

Workers coming together to demand their rights? That’s union power

This industrial action took place because workers came together in their union to take action improve their workplaces and society for everyone. 

Union membership is so much more than just individual protection – it’s about being part of a movement that drives positive change in the workplace and broader society. 

If you want to see the same kind of passion and make positive change happen at your workplace, join your union today. 

Do Something powerful

Hospital patients and rising cost of living front of mind for nurses and midwives on strike

Hospital patients and rising cost of living front of mind for nurses and midwives on strike