|Issue No 118||02 November 2001|
Entire Town Joins Nurses' Strike
By Laura MacFarlane
The first industrial action since the Shearer's strike of the 1890's happened in Tottenham, NSW, (population: 390), when their nurses rallied on October 18.
While 5000 nurses marched on Parliament house in Sydney the 11 nurses of Tottenham marched down the main street to the hospital. Paige Kildare, the only full time registered nurse at the 10 bed, 24 hour a day, 7 days a week facility commented when asked if the rally caused a disruption, "The town's policeman couldn't redirect traffic because he's on holidays!"
Tottenham is the geographical center of NSW - 130km from Dubbo and 130km from Parkes. They have a pub but it doesn't have Sky Channel. They have a hospital but it doesn't have enough staff. That is why the nurses of Tottenham took action with the rest of the state's nurses on the 18th October.
"There is only one full time registered nurse and two who are permanent part-time and they have some enrolled nurses and casuals. 10 all up" said Murray Bean, Organiser for the hospital from NSWNA.
"With that number of people they have to cover three shifts a day with qualified nursing staff. They need a total of 4.2 full time equivalent RNs plus casuals to make the hospital safe and to cover all shifts. As well as cover annual leave and sick leave." said Bean.
The hospital deals with trauma cases from accidents on farms, car accidents and all the other things that go on in every day rural life including "birthin'" babies.
The fact they couldn't join in the events at Sydney Town Hall via the Sky Channel broadcast didn't deter these nurses of Tottenham. They had their "strike" and then they had a barby. And because they had put up flyers all over town about "The What's a Nurse Worth?" campaign, 50 people turned up and three local businesses closed in solidarity with the nurses of their town. To top it off the petition to parliament for more nurses was signed by more than half the population.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005