Monday 15th August 2005
Nurses at St George Hospital have saved their NSWNA membership, thanks to a direct debit plan by a group of members.
It may not sound like a big deal whether you pay your union fees by payroll deductions or direct debit, but staying on payroll deductions could cost you your membership and even cripple the collective voice of nurses through
A group of concerned members at St George Hospital recognised the importance of paying by direct debit, and came up with a plan to convert more of their coworkers from payroll deductions.
The danger of payroll deductions is that the federal government could now choose to cancel them without notice, leaving thousands of nurses without union protection and risking the ability of the NSWNA to advocate on your behalf.
Gai Pickering, a nurse educator at St George, was one of the nurses who came up with the plan to convince her colleagues about the importance of paying by direct debit. ‘With the new industrial relations laws, we were forewarned that there would be a chance that payroll deductions may be lost. So to ensure a greater number of members were paying by direct debit for the good of our branch, we decided to make a concerted effort to sign people up,’ she says.
Every nurse on payroll deductions at St George was given a letter explaining the importance of direct debit, as well as a direct debit form. The group also went from ward to ward to talk to nurses directly about why it was important to convert. They got many members to sign up to direct debit on the spot, and we even posted the forms on behalf of the nurses so no forms would get lost at the bottom of mounting piles of paperwork.
Gai said most nurses were readily convinced of the benefits of direct debit. ‘It’s a very convenient way of paying your Association fees,’ she says. ‘You can keep tabs of it on your credit card or bank statement and be reminded of it, that the union is there for you. It’s also confidential.’ She also says it’s an easier option for young people who are on the move. ‘When you pay your fees by direct debit, you don’t have to worry about losing your membership whenever you change jobs.’
There’s also a competition for members who sign on to direct debit and for the colleagues who sign them up – you could win a 12-day European holiday for two (see page 4).
The St George direct debit plan was a huge success, and so far it has been the biggest switch to direct debit from any single branch.
If you would like to switch to direct debit, call the NSWNA on 1300 369 962 (country) or 8595 1234 (metro).
RPA gears up for direct debit
RPAH nurses are also gearing up for a big switch to direct debit. Branch officials have been handing out special information packs explaining the importance of converting to direct debit, to get the whole RPAH branch on board. Next month we’ll take a more in-depth look at the RPAH branch action.