Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nurses Action

It was over 25 years ago that I was involved in the Statewide Victorian Nurses' Strike.
This time there is on-going Action as ANF struggle to negotiate wages and conditions with the
Baillieu Government. It is not the wage that is the sticking point (police and Ambulance have been granted a big rise), but the plan (declared a secret Govt document) to abolish nurse -patient ratios including using nursing assistants as a money saver.
Fair Work Australia just orders nurses back to work, with threats of fines or imprisonment but do not direct Baillieu to continue discussions.
So there have been 4-hour rolling stoppages, all across the State. The big concern is the increased work load will drive nurses to leave the profession, and the Ratios is what we have fought for all these years!!
We at RCH do not strike (that would lose public support in a big way) but there is a wave of red in the hospital as nurses wear Union action t-shirts and many flags abound, including one at our desk.
Stop work meeting
To show our support for the Industrial action the nurses from Royal Melbourne and Women's who were stopping for 4 hours (night shift ratio staff left on) and walked to the Children's at 930 -1030 so our nurses joined them at the front of the Hospital. This on the day that started the wettest 24hours in the last 12 months. Lots of horn tooting and support from passers by and drivers as well as the tram rang its bell as it went slowly past! . Lisa  Fitzpatrick came to address the group .Like old times.The Speech kept short due to the torrential rain!!
It was so muggy that even though I got damp I dried off in about 10 minutes. 
The crowd dispersing
“The document, seen by the Herald Sun, outlines the circumstances under which the Government wants to win the right to override nurse-to-patient ratios, including where hospitals are struggling for money or staff.The official plan, which was presented as a secret proposal by the Victorian Hospitals’ Industrial Association during confidential Fair Work Australia hearings with the Australian Nursing Federation, also calls for nursing assistants to be used as an alternative to fully trained staff to meet the ratios. Details of the proposal emerged at the same time Health Minister David Davis wrote an open letter to the state’s nurses saying he did not want to abolish nurse-to-patient ratios.”
 News today is the order to return to work 'or else" Not sure what the next step will be 

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