International breakthrough for nurses

H

A61R6068In her Annual Conference report Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda told delegates about a global nurse action planned for September 17.

“Privatisation happens very subtly. No big announcements other than media releases that may or may not be picked up by journalists. Services just get chipped away and suddenly one day we wake up and realise that the essential quality public services – the measure of any decent society – are no longer.”

Fourteen international nurse unions gathered in San Francisco in June this year to form an international nurses union, Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda told members attending the Association’s Annual Conference.

“I couldn’t be more excited to announce the formation of the fledgling new Global Nurses United (GNU) at this conference,” she said.

Judith said the formation of the new organisation was timely “given the ravages of austerity and the continued worldwide resistance to mandated enforceable staffing arrangements for patient safety in all health sectors.

“GNU will meet electronically in the main and has a face-to-face meeting planned for September 2014, by which time we hope to have recruited even more nurses’ unions to the global union,” she said.

“In the meantime we will pursue coordinated global activities in pursuit of our agreed agenda of equitable access to quality public health services for all, and enforceable mandated staffing arrangements in all health care sectors.

“Our first global action will be on September 17.”

Judith also spoke about the work of Public Services International, to which the NSWNMA is affiliated.

“This global union federation has always had the protection and retention of quality public services as its prime objective, but more recently that objective has shifted up several notches as effects of austerity bite deep around the world.

“Even the International Monetary Fund has admitted that the austerity measures undertaken – particularly in southern Europe – have not worked and have ultimately wreaked havoc on the social fabric of countries such as Greece and Spain. The United States and UK have not escaped either. And of course here in Australia we are hearing similar rhetoric.”

Ultimately this rhetoric is code for privatisation, says Judith.

“Privatisation happens very subtly. No big announcements other than media releases that may or may not be picked up by journalists. Services just get chipped away and suddenly one day we wake up and realise that the essential quality public services – the measure of any decent society – are no longer.”