The ACTU has congratulated Victorian nurses and the ANF for winning fair wages and improving quality care for patients despite the obstacles posed by the Howard Government’s WorkChoices IR laws.
Six thousand nurses met this afternoon to accept a collective agreement negotiated by their union, which includes an extra 500 nurses into the workforce and better pay and conditions.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:
“The nurses have won a good result and so has the Victorian community despite the pressure of the Federal Government’s unfair IR laws.
“Victorian nurses are the only State public hospital employees in the country covered by WorkChoices.
“In no other State would hospitals be forced by the Howard Government’s Work Choices laws to dock the wages of nurses undertaking work bans in support of their claim for better pay and conditions.
“Work Choices also tied the hands of the independent umpire in this dispute.
“Without Work Choices the Industrial Relations Commission would have been able to assist the nurses and their employers reach an agreement in a more cooperative manner and without the backdrop of potential fines and costly court action.
“There is no doubt that if the Liberals are re-elected they will impose Work Choices on nurses in other States.
“This will mean nurses in every State could face the same pressures and obstacles that Victorian nurses have suffered from Work Choices during this dispute.
“Victorian nurses have shown what a strong union and committed nurses can do when they stand together to protect their rights at work,” Ms Burrow said.