Following last month’s release of the Productivity Commission (PC) draft report in the Workplace Relations Framework, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) will take part in Consultation Hearings in Melbourne today (Wednesday 23 September) to argue why nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing (AINs) must continue to have decent wages and working conditions under any changes to the IR system.
Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said the ANMF appreciated the opportunity to further engage with the PC and raise its ongoing concerns about the impact that cuts to minimum wages, penalty rates, awards and other conditions will have on the country’s health and aged care workforce.
“As the country’s largest health and aged care union, the ANMF wants to send a message to the PC that there has to be fairness and equity for all Australian workers,” Ms Thomas said today.
“Quite simply. It’s all about ensuring a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.
“But already, in its draft report, the PC has recommended reducing penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers. The ANMF supports the rights of all workers to have penalty rates paid to them. It’s only fair that workers are adequately compensated for working unsociable hours, whether that’s at night, on weekends or on public holidays.”
“The ANMF is also seeking to ensure that nurses, midwives and AINs won’t be next. Nursing and midwifery is a 24/7 profession – nurses and midwives heavily rely on penalties and shift loadings.”
Ms Thomas said the ANMF is hopeful that the new PM and Treasurer will consult with the ANMF and other key industry stakeholders before adopting any recommendations put forward by the PC.
“As part of the Government’s new agenda, we need a progressive and co-operative IR system which assists in recruiting and retaining a sustainable health and aged care workforce, now and into the future,” she said.
“Stripping away workers’ rights is not the right way forward, it will result in a regressive IR system, which will ultimately hurt nurses, midwives and AINs and the people they care for.”