Delegates vote to strike

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NSWNA committee of delegates gave the green light for a statewide strike by public health system nurses and midwives.

The NSWNA committee of delegates (COD) unanimously voted for a statewide strike by public health system members on Wednesday, 24 November.

At a COD meeting on 16 November, more than 250 workplace delegates, representing nurses and midwives from hospitals, health services and aged care facilities throughout the State, passed a resolution (see box) giving the go ahead for strike action.

Delegates voted that on 24 November nurses and midwives would provide life-preserving services at all times, but would reduce services to current night duty staffing levels at each facility for the period generally between 7am and 5pm.

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes told delegates, ‘After numerous meetings, the NSW Government is still rejecting the NSWNA claim for mandated nurse-to-patient ratios.

‘We have no choice but to escalate our action,’ said Brett Holmes.

In the days following the delegates’ meeting, NSWNA members at NSW public hospitals and community health services voted on whether their facility would join the statewide strike and, if so, for how long.

Resolution for strike action

The following resolution proposing strike action was passed by NSWNA delegates on 16 November.

‘This meeting of the NSWNA Committee of Delegates representing nurses and midwives from across NSW asks the Council of the Association to call a Special General Meeting and strike of public health system members (excluding Affiliated Health Organisations) on Wednesday 24 November.

‘Our industrial action is a last resort in response to the State Government’s refusal to implement mandated minimum nurse-to-patient ratios, which will provide safer patient care, and its refusal to provide a pay and conditions offer without unfair strings attached.

‘We condemn the Government for its intransigence during months of negotiations and its refusal to employ enough nurses and midwives to provide safer levels of care for NSW residents.

‘Unlike the Victorian Labor Government, which last week announced improvements to its mandated nurse-to-patient ratios, the NSW Labor Government refuses to guarantee nurse staffing levels.

‘Our Government is also refusing to employ 1,000 Registered Nurses who will graduate from NSW universities this month and forces hospital managers to restrict recruitment of nurses and midwives to meet budgets rather than patients’ needs.

‘On 24 November nurses and midwives will provide life-preserving services at all times, but will reduce services to current night duty staffing levels at each facility for the period generally between 7am and 5pm. The Special General Meeting will hear a report back from the Association leadership on any developments in negotiations for safer patient care and recommend the next steps in the campaign.’