Now it's the nurses turn to strike

D-DAY is coming for the State Government, with North Coast nurses threatening strike action in their ongoing battle for new pay and working conditions.

The NSW Nurses Association has given the government until Monday to secure pay and conditions, after three months of unresolved negotiations have left nurses in 'utter despair'.

Representatives from Coffs Harbour, Macksville and the Mid North Coast Nurse Managers were among the 237 delegates at a NSWNA meeting last week that issued the ultimatum six weeks before the current wages agreement runs out.

Nurses' union general secretary, Brett Holmes, said the lack of resolution shows 'contempt' for the 42,000 nurses and midwives working in the NSW public health service.

"Despite the ongoing nurse shortage and the ever-increasing pressure on the public health system, the state government is placing NSW residents at risk by effectively encouraging nurses and midwives to leave the system and worsen their already excessive workloads," an angry Mr Holmes said.

"The failure of the State Government to commence negotiations, with only 28 working days left before the expiry of our current award, is unprecedented."

Opposition Health spokeswoman, Jillian Skinner, told the ABC she hopes nurses don't take industrial action.

"Of all the people the community relies on to be there when they are sick and needed, it's nurses, but I can understand their degrees of frustration," Ms Skinner said.

NSW Health Minister, Reba Meagher, was contacted but no reply was received by late yesterday afternoon.

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