Simon Richards, RN and President of the NSWNA Royal North Shore Hospital branch, is very concerned about the government’s workplace changes and says the North Shore Hospital branch of the NSWNA is planning to do its part to engage the community on 15 November.
‘This is a blatant attack on unions – an attempt to cut us off at the knees,’ he said. ‘We’ve got to galvanise support and stand together.’
Simon says he doesn’t accept John Howard’s arguments that the government is giving workers more choice and that the changes are necessary for a stronger economy.
‘This is about ideology, not about economics. Employers will now be saying, either sign this or I’ll employ someone else. They won’t have to worry about unfair dismissal. I’d hate to be working in a small business under these new laws,’ he said.
‘To say, as the (federal) government does, that you are giving individuals more power is illusory. As one individual a-mong many, what power do you have to influence a wages agreement?
‘What will happen to the wages and conditions of nurses will be a nightmare. Who would want to work in aged care on an AWA, for example, not getting paid penalty rates under these laws? It’s very worrying.’
Simon believes it is important that nurses take a stand with other workers against the changes.
‘At North Shore we’re going to get as many people along to the Sky Channel broadcast as we can. And we’re going to get the message out to patients and their families. We’ll wear our Your Rights At Work T-shirts and badges on the day. We’ll set up a booth in the hospital foyer to pass out information and we’re going to have a sausage sizzle where we can engage the public.’
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