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Vic nurses need our absolute support

by Dave Riley

I worked as a nurse for 15 years up and down the east coast of Australia. I was even closely involved in what was the longest health industry strike in Australian history -- in Queensland during 2003 when we were on the grass for three weeks.

But in Victorian something very important is unfolding:
The Victorian nurses' pay dispute is escalating, with nurses continuing to close beds in defiance of an Industrial Relations Commission order.The nurses want a six per cent pay rise but the Victorian government is offering them three and a quarter per cent over five years.Their union says its members are being bullied as they implement their work bans.The Brumby Labor government says if the bans continue hospitals will have no choice but to penalise the nurses under the WorkChoices legislation. Source
Up until the eighties it was very difficult to talk up unionism among general health nurses although union coverage was very strong in the psychiatric sector where I came from. It was even a closed union shop in Queensland in that industry. But the ANF which covered general nurses -- then the Royal Australian Nursing Federation -- saw itself primarily as a professional body.

Look at nurses now.

It's crucial that we support their campaign. So make sure you visit the campaign web site and log your support: Fund Nursing Properly. What the nurses are doing is probably very much more important than what you could be doing on November 24th.
Victorian nurses are continuing to close beds in defiance of an Industrial Relations Commission order that they lift their work bans. The Brumby Labor Government says if the bans continue, it will have no choice but to penalise the nurses under the WorkChoices legislation but a Melbourne University lawyer says WorkChoices isn't really a factor in the pay dispute.






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