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Nurses and midwives in NSW have rejected the state government’s offer of a 3 per cent pay rise.

The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association will consider further industrial action following a mass meeting of members in Sydney on Tuesday afternoon.

Nurses and midwives at 80 hospitals across NSW stopped work on Tuesday to attend the two-hour meeting at Sydney Town Hall, in which members discussed the state budget, pay and working conditions.  

The NSW government has offered a 3 per cent pay rise for public sector employees including nurses, teachers and paramedics.

Nurses and midwives across NSW participated in industrial action in March.(ABC News: Tim Swanston)

NSW Nurses and Midwives Association general secretary Brett Holmes said members had called for a 7 per cent pay increase in line with inflation. 

“[The] 3 per cent [pay rise] is inadequate,” he said. 

“We’ll consider what next industrial action is necessary to sustain the fight.” 

Mr Holmes said a $3,000 “thank you” payment the state government offered for health workers as recognition for their work during the pandemic was not enough. 

“Once you take out your tax and your super … not that many of our members actually expect to see that $3,000,” he said. 

A nurse holding an sos sign
Nurse Robyn Pavloudis protested in Sydney’s CBD on Tuesday.(ABC News: Tim Swanston)

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the government would not consider offering a further pay rise on top of the 3 per cent it had already proposed.  

“The increase that is being given to nurses and midwives is the highest in the nation,” Mr Hazzard said.   

“It’s unfortunate that the state and all of the states can’t always give nurses and midwives even more, but the 3 per cent is fair.”

Warning for commuters

Earlier on Tuesday, commuters were urged to avoid travelling on the rail network as Sydney faces a week of chaos with industrial action across multiple public sectors.

Trains have been slowed to 60 kilometres per hour, and some services have been cancelled, as part of four days of industrial action by rail workers.

About 50 per cent of services will be reduced during peak periods on Tuesday, with further disruptions planned for the week.

Sydney Trains chief executive Matt Longland said commuters should avoid all rail travel.

“Leave it for those who really need it,” he said. 

A train arrives at a platform
Authorities have been forced to reduce timetabled services to between 50 to 75 per cent.(ABC News: Tim Swanston)

Friday is expected to see the biggest disruption with a ban on using foreign-made trains set to reduce services by about 75 per cent. 

Posted , updated 

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