The leaders of the country’s largest health union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), will join nurses and midwives for today’s National Day of Action in capital cities and towns, in a show of force against the Abbott Government’s industrial relations agenda.
In NSW, ANMF members will participate in coordinated industrial action and activities at public hospitals and health facilities in Sydney, the Central Coast, Wollongong and other parts of the State.
Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, who will join the rally in Federation Square, Melbourne, said the ANMF was fighting hard to preserve its members’ penalty rates and allowances, which could be reduced or removed as a result of Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Workplace Relations.
The warning from Ms Thomas followed the results of a new survey of more than 13,000 nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing, which showed that an overwhelming 93% of them would take action to protect their penalty rates – over 60% said this would include stop work or strike action.
Speaking ahead the National Day of Action, Ms Thomas said: “Our members have told us that penalty rates and allowances are a very important issue for them and their families, with a cut in their allowances resulting in a 30% reduction in their basic take home pay.
“If Mr Abbott dares to strip away the compensation our nurses and midwives receive for working nights, weekends and public holidays, they have warned that they would take action to protect their penalty rates. With 87% of respondents also indicating they would stop signing-up for shift work, the amount of quality care able to be delivered at hospitals, nursing homes and health facilities around the country would be dramatically compromised. Mr Abbott must consider this if he tries to touch our penalty rates.
“Whilst the ANMF is heartened by our victory in defeating Mr Abbott’s GP tax, we aren’t resting on our laurels and we’re now clearly focused on blocking the Government’s industry relations agenda – the most serious for us being an attack on our penalty rates.”
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