In his address to delegates at the NSWNA Annual Conference, ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said a lot had happened since he outlined the concerns of the union movement at the NSWNA Annual Conference 12 months ago.
‘Since then we’ve been accused of lying and running a scare campaign. But they were not fibs – these laws are punishing working people. And nurses are not immune. Even in public hospitals problems will come.
‘In the education sector, the federal government is saying to state governments that if they want funding to pay TAFE teachers they must offer AWAs to all TAFE teachers.
‘And they are also saying to universities: Even though we can’t directly regulate you, we will deny you funding unless you agree to offer AWAs to your 90,000 employees.
‘It is not much of a leap, with the ideological bent of the government, that they say to the state government – your funding will depend on giving AWAs to public hospital nurses. And if the state Liberals win the next election, they will give you to the federal system.
‘You cannot be complacent if you care about the rights you have built up over many generations. You will not remain protected in the public system,’ he said.
‘An unhappy, unhealthy and powerless community will not strengthen our economy. I believe that we need to work to abolish the IR laws before our social fabric, and therefore the economy, is destroyed.’
Louise La Fontaine, RN, Bega District Hospital
‘We need to defeat the legislation by working as a group, it’s not just about nurses either, it’s about all workers.’
Dianne Macdonald, RN, Cape Hawke Community Private Hospital
‘It is good to listen to all the details about the legislation to take back to the members at my workplace. We formed a branch and have recruited 10 new members in the last couple of months. People’s biggest concern is the impact of these new laws.’
Deborah Hardy, AIN, Wingham Court Nursing Home
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