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The health services union has warned the NSW government that it expects a pay rise to be included in the June budget, threatening to otherwise pursue industrial action until the next state election.
Around 15,000 union members quit as paramedics, paramedics and hospital support staff this morning, demanding a 5.5% wage increase instead of the 2.5% required by law.
After meeting government ministers yesterday, the union will take part in a conciliation meeting next week, secretary Gerard Hayes told reporters.
“We hope all of these concerns will be resolved before the budget, quite frankly,” he said.
Mr Hayes said ‘no patients were affected’ by the hour-long stoppage of non-emergency work carried out by paramedics this morning, noting that the union had not decided to strike for 24 time, as the nurses and midwives union did last month.
“As far as the ambulance service is concerned, there have been slight delays in the more common type of cases,” he said, adding that there would likely be delays at hospitals during the day.
Asked about the planned action earlier this week, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he believed the union was responsible for determining which services would be affected.
Around 500 of those who left work braved the rain to gather at Sydney’s Trades Hall.
Staff at Parramatta’s laundry service, which does laundry for the city’s hospitals, said they came to the meeting because their salaries did not cover rising prices at supermarkets and petrol stations.
“We want a pay rise. It’s the most important thing we’re here to do,” said staff member Lucy Del Monte.