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Sydney nurse Jess says money isn’t the main reason she and her colleagues are going on strike today.

Nurses and midwives around the city will walk off the job for up to 24 hours today amid demands for better working conditions and remuneration.

Jess told Today she had just come from an 18-hour shift, and that nurses were regularly called on to work longer hours to make up for shortfalls in the wards.

“On a daily basis, nurses and midwives across the state and in our hospitals are working under huge and extreme pressures, more so than we have been in previous times,” she said.

“This pandemic has really highlighted a lot of the issues that are already in the system but have been amplified.”

Jess said nurses were asking for extra pay, above the NSW government’s offer of a three per cent increase.

“It’s not the number-one argument that we are making but we do feel we deserve an adequate pay rise for the responsibilities, the extra work and the extra pressure we are under,” she said.

“Given the cost of living pressure we are under, and supporting families, on top of that recently the Premier gave all his party members pay rises for their extra work loads and their extra responsibilities.”

Jess said there was not necessarily a nursing shortage, with plenty of graduates coming out of university.

But she said the government seemed to prefer paying overtime rather than employing extra staff.

“We are constantly working short in our department, we can work up to 10 nurses short, and we are relying on casual staff to fill the vacancies, and a lot are not trained in that section. Which puts the staff and the patients at risk,” she said.

“We put our patient safety first, this is why we are doing this, we are advocating for our patients.”

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