Illawarra nurses and midwives will hold rallies at several locations on Tuesday as part of a statewide protest against the NSW government's planned public sector wage freeze.
More than 60 NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association (NSWNMA) branches will take part in the action, appalled at the government's decision to deny them their negotiated 2.5 per cent pay rise on July 1, 2020.
The Wollongong Hospital and South Coast Community Nurses NSWNMA branches will gather at midday outside Wollongong Hospital, while the Shoalhaven Hospital branch will hold their protest at the Nowra hospital at 10am.
Bulli and Coledale branch memberswill gather at 10.30am outside the Corrimal office of Keira MP, and Labor's health spokesman Ryan Park, who supports the workers.
And members from the Shellharbour Hospital NSWNMA Branch will hold their midday rallyoutside Kiama MP Gareth Ward's office, in Terralong Street.
Nurses and midwives believe the public sector wage freeze would harm regional communities and have called on all politicians to reject the government's plan when parliament sits on Tuesday.
Meantime NSWNMA general secretary Brett Holmes has described the $1000 one-off cash payment for public sector employees proposed by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet on Sunday as a "poor attempt to buy off nurses and midwives."
"The NSW Government is effectively trying to silence 50,000 nurses and midwives with a $1000 payment, short-changing them on the sacrifices they have made and continue to make every day," he said.
"A one-off payment is not an act of generosity from the Treasurer. The government is deliberately attempting to hoodwink our members and is threatening job cuts if the upper house successfully blocks the government's wage freeze regulation.
"We'll continue to fight this wage freeze and look forward to a showdown on Tuesday when state parliament resumes. After sending over 95,000 emails to upper and lower house MPs, our members will also be taking to the streets in their communities."
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the move would protect public service jobs as unemployment spiked across NSW.
The "pause" in pay rises would save NSW taxpayers around $3 billion which the government would invest back into health and job creation.
However Mr Park said Labor did not support the wage freeze and would fight it in the parliament.
"This isn't just an insult to the frontline workers but also bad for the economy," he said.
"Our small businesses right across the region rely on workers to be able to spend those few extra dollars that they may have in those local cafes, restaurants as well as on local services that are provided by these hardworking small business owners.
"That's not going to be possible if we are cutting people's salaries. The government's decision is bad for the local economy, bad for jobs, bad for small business owners and bad for local workers who have worked so hard to protect us all during this crisis."