ANF fights for work rights, quality aged care and nursing award

In her address to the NSWNA Annual Conference, ANF Federal Secretary Ged Kearney outlined to delegates an action packed year of campaigning.

She said the ANF had joined unions Australia-wide in pushing the Federal Government for a quicker windback of WorkChoices.

Another important focus for the ANF is campaigning to maintain nursing-specific awards. ‘The future of your nursing award is under threat because of a united campaign by other unions and a number of aged care employers to replace nursing awards with generic industry awards.’

The Federal Government has asked the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) to review state and federal awards and some unions and employers argue that nursing should be brought into general awards covering particular industries such as aged care.

‘ANF believes the best way to protect nurses’ wages and conditions is by having a nursing award. The ANF believes that industry awards would disadvantage you and reduce patient and resident care standards,’ said Ged.

The ANF is asking all nurses to help save their award by signing a petition calling on the AIRC to reject the push to scrap nursing awards and to ensure that nurses’ minimum wages and employment conditions are protected by nursing awards. The petition can be downloaded from the ANF website: www.anf.org.au

The ANF is also launching a major national aged care campaign to put pressure on the Federal Government to ensure an appropriate mix of qualified nurses. ‘We need to ensure that aged care residents are cared for by an appropriately skilled workforce and that there are enough people caring for them,’ said Ged.

‘Nurses working in aged care are at breaking point because of impossible workloads and a lack of support, there is no incentive for them to stay in an industry which continually offers chronically poor pay and conditions.

‘We urge the Australian Government to act to solve this crisis in aged care by ensuring minimum staffing levels and skill mix, closing the wages gap for nurses, and ensuring the licensing of all aged care workers.’