Thursday 19th October 2006
Despite the cold, more than 40 members attended a NSWNA aged care meeting in the Blue Mountains to learn how the federal government’s industrial relations legislation might impact on aged care nurses.
Speakers from the Association and the aged care sector covered issues such as threats posed to employees, decent employers and quality of care for residents – as well as the need to protect the role of nurses in aged care.
Yvonne Thomas, AIN from The Ritz nursing home, said she attended in order to understand more about the industrial relations laws. Yvonne said she was ‘better off finding out the facts from the union’ because she believed the mainstream media’s coverage of the new laws was not always accurate.
Cheryl Edwards, DON from Anita Villa nursing home, spoke with the support of her employer, from the perspective of an operator who does not want to reduce the rights and conditions of employees.
Cheryl said the laws had ‘an unsettling affect on the staff’. The facility owner recognised that the industrial relations legislation ‘put sanctions on us valuing our staff’ and that the nursing home would maintain the current conditions enjoyed by staff because they ‘value the people that work with us and for us’.
‘Although good operators won’t want to act negatively towards their employees, not everyone is safe and there are still nurses who are vulnerable,’ she said.
Cheryl urged members to talk to their work colleagues, their local federal Member of Parliament and the union about protecting fair pay and conditions for staff working in aged care.
The Blue Mountains is a part of the seat of Macquarie, held by Liberal Kerry Bartlett, and is one of the most marginal seats in NSW. A swing of only .33% at the next federal election is needed to unseat her and deliver an alternative MP who will protect Australians’ rights at work.
The Blue Mountains ‘Your Rights at Work’ committee encourages all nurses living in the area to get involved in the community campaign. For more details, contact Phil Doyle on 0416 155 235 or Pat O’Beirne on 4758 6493.