Thousands of nurses and health care workers across the nation will today lead the first major election event against John Howard’s unfair WorkChoices laws.
Nurses and other health workers stand to lose up to $284 a week in shift penalties under the Liberals’ plan to push another 1.5 million Australians onto lower-paid Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) if re-elected say unions.
“Nurses and heath workers work extremely hard caring for our communities, and shouldn’t have to worry about their pay being cut,” said ACTU President Sharan Burrow.
“They work around the clock seven days a week caring for patients and rely on penalty rates and other conditions that will be under serious threat if the Howard Government is re-elected.
“A typical full time registered nurse (grade 8) working a rotating shift in the public hospital system earns up to $15,000 a year in shift penalties — a potentially massive pay cut under the Liberals’ IR plan.”
Ms Burrow says the Howard Government’s move to take control of Australia’s public hospitals is a back-door way of pushing nurses and other health care professionals onto wage-cutting job contracts as a condition of federal funding.
Unions NSW Secretary John Robertson says nurses, home carers, physiotherapists, pathologists and other health professionals will be campaigning hard in their local communities today to make sure voters understand that a vote for John Howard’s Coalition is a vote to push WorkChoices into hospitals and thousands of other workplaces.
“Today nurses and health workers are sending a message to Mr Howard and Mr Costello that their pay and conditions are not up for grabs in this election.
“They are asking the Australian public to make a careful, informed choice at this election,” said Mr Robertson, who is meeting with healthcare workers at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney.
Nurses, pathologists, doctors, physiotherapists, community health workers and other care professionals will be doorknocking, offering free blood pressure tests, making cakes, dropping leaflets, offering information to commuters and shoppers, and speaking out in their workplaces about the effect of WorkChoices on workers who care, across Australia today.
size=”+0″>Events will be held in Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart, Bundaberg, Cairns and Townsville and a number of other Qld regional centres.