Monday 15th August 2005
The nurses who could be called on to care for injured Australian soldiers have had their pay and job security severely undermined by federal government cost-cutting.
More than 50 nurses at Australian Defence force (ADF) bases around NSW are now calling on the government to step in and stop the rot.
The ADF tendered out nursing services earlier this year, with cost apparently the paramount concern.
Nurses have seen their hourly rate drop by as much as $14 and they now have no job security beyond the end of a shift.
Until this year the nurses, many with years of ADF service, were paid a good hourly rate that wrapped in most standard working conditions.
But with the low-bidding agencies that won the tender taking a profit, nurses have taken a big pay cut with no improvement in conditions.
The NSWNA legal team is in dispute with the ADF about the employment status of these nurses.
The ADF claims the nurses were never employees but independent contractors running their own one-person businesses.
If a legal basis for their status as employees can be established, then the union may have grounds for unfair dismissal action.
In the meantime, the NSWNA is working hard to organise the ADF nurses so that an effective campaign can be mounted.
Nurses want the federal government to intervene to protect pay rates, career structures and job security.
Along with government cost-cutting, the command mentality and anti-union culture of the ADF is a barrier to nurses getting a fair go.
The ADF bases cover army, navy and air force personnel.
If you’re a nurse working in ADF and you want to improve pay and conditions, please contact Michael Waites at the NSWNA on 1300 367 962.