Frontline nurses and midwives say the middle of the coronavirus pandemic is hardly the time for the NSW Government to freeze public sector wages, especially with a "second wave" of cases imminent.
State Nurses and Midwives' Association general secretary Brett Holmes has criticised Treasurer Dominic Perrottet for saying he will "always put people before numbers" before denying workers on the COVID-19 frontline a wage increase from July.
"On the eve of International Nurses' Day, the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association has attacked plans by the NSW Government to ram through legislation for a public sector wage freeze, as early as tomorrow (Tuesday) when parliament resumes for special sessions," Mr Holmes said.
"The middle of a pandemic is hardly the time to be asking frontline nurses and midwives to suck it up, show up for their shifts and do even more for less."
Public sector unions representing frontline workers are calling on the NSW opposition and crossbench politicians to "vigorously reject" any wage freeze.
"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," Mr Holmes said in a statement.
"Thousands of nurses, midwives, other health sector workers and public servants are risking their lives daily to keep fellow citizens safe. These workers deserve recognition, not attempts by government to send wages backwards and our economy into further turmoil.
"We are all preparing for a second wave of COVID-19, yet the government is asking nurses and midwives to do more for less, putting the budget bottom line before people in need."
Mr Holmes said the proposed wage freeze was a "disgrace", especially as nurses had been "spat on and abused, forced to deal with a lack of Personal Protective Equipment and put themselves, and their families, at risk each shift".
Australian Associated Press
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