St George Private rallies for equal pay

St George Public Hospital nurses joined their private hospital colleagues in a rally for better pay

St George Private Hospital nurses hit the streets at a lunchtime rally on 17 February to pressure Ramsay Healthcare to offer nurses equal pay and conditions with the public sector.

Nurses from St George Public Hospital next door joined the rally in support of their private hospital colleagues.

At the rally nurses loudly voiced their support for a decent pay rise.

NSWNA President Coral Levett reminded those gathered for the rally of the profits recorded by Ramsay Healthcare in their 2004–2005 Annual Report.

‘The company experienced a core net profit up 27%. In dollar amounts, they had a record profit of $54.1 million dollars, up from $42.7 million the year before. They definitely can afford to give nurses working in private hospitals equal pay and conditions with the public sector. Private hospital nurses deserve improved conditions and pay in recognition of the extraordinary work they do everyday’ she said.

The Annual Report says: The better than expected result was due to higher revenue and ongoing cost containment across the group. ‘Nurses here are the “cost containment” they are talking about. Every day the employer delays they save money and it leaves private hospital nurses even further out of pocket in comparison to nurses working in the public sector,’ said Coral.

The nurses passed a resolution that ‘demands parity with the public sector’, requests that Mr Ramsay demonstrates his commitment to nurses by including a workloads clause in the award and that their wages and conditions claim be finalised as a matter of urgency.
‘We have resolved to implement industrial activities to escalate the campaign if the offer from Ramsay is unacceptable,’ said Coral.

Branches getting active
Strong attendance at branch meetings sends a message to your employer that you and your co-workers are serious about achieving a fair deal on pay and conditions.

    Go to communal areas like the café and tea room and talk to nurses. Ask them what aspects of their work and conditions they are dissatisfied with.
    Make sure you ask every non-member to join the NSWNA. Discuss the benefits of joining the union.
    Make a flyer specific to your branch to notify people about the meeting. Make sure the date, time and location is clear. Give them out to individuals and put them up in every ward.
    Ring around the wards to remind staff about the meeting the next day.
    Do a walk around of the wards – a face-to-face reminder often works. Write a reminder note at the top of the day’s page in each ward diary.