Election result lies in local hands

Nepean hospital sets the pace in marginal seat campaign

Nurses and other health workers at Nepean Hospital are at the forefront of a concerted campaign to make the federal IR laws a central issue at the next federal election in Lindsay, a marginal NSW electorate.  Kerry Rodgers, a NUM at Nepean Hospital, said the campaign aims to raise the awareness of Nepean Hospital employees about the federal government’s IR legislation and provide an avenue to get involved and do something about them.

‘Nepean Hospital is the biggest worksite in the Lindsay electorate and we want to spread the word through the wider community,’ she said.

John Robertson, Secretary of Unions NSW, officially launched the Nepean Hospital Your Rights at Work campaign on 1 November.

‘I am privileged to launch the first campaign of this type in Australia where an entire workplace has come together to express their views to politicians,’ he said.

Nepean staff are signing a petition to the Premier, Morris Iemma, asking him to guarantee that if elected he will protect penalty rates for weekend and shift work, protect Award conditions and the right for staff to bargain collectively through the unions.

There is also a plan to raise money to sponsor a billboard in the electorate protesting against the laws.

Denise Johnston, EN, admits she and many other employees involved have never been motivated to participate in a campaign before but recognised they could not ‘sit back and see what happens’.

‘We’ll only get one chance to fix this because the Liberal government will only go further with these laws if they get back into government,’ she said.

John Robertson reminded staff at the campaign launch that although the Liberal government has spent over $50 million of taxpayers’ money on advertising to convince the public that this legislation is okay, ‘they cannot buy the one-on-one conversations that you are having with your colleagues, friends and family about the devastating impact that these laws will have on the hospital community.’

To get involved in your local Your Rights At Work campaign, contact Rita Martin at the NSWNA (rmartin@nswnurses.asn.au)