||Issue No. 304||28 April 2006|
Canaries in the Coalmine
Interview: Head On
Unions: Do You Have a Moment?
Industrial: Vital Signs
Economics: Taxing Times
Environment: It Ain’t Necessarily So
History: Melbourne’s Hours
Immigration: Opening the Floodgates
Review: Pollie Fiction
Poetry: The Cabal
The Locker Room
Answer is Easy
Army Declares War On Workers
Wagga Wagga nurse, Anne Woodward, asked her boss why a 000 ambulance was made to sign in at the front gates of an army base and escorted at 40 kph to pick up a soldier who had a heart attack and needed to be urgently transferred to hospital.
Woodward was given an hour to clean out her desk, with the Military Police to be called if she was not gone by that time, on the advice of the commanding officer of Kapooka Health Centre (KHC).
"Ms Woodward wanted to know if management knew about the incident and asked what was being done to prevent a reoccurrence," says NSWNA Acting Secretary, Judith Kiejda. "As the Nurse Manager she understandably wanted to ensure protocols were in place that prevented life threatening delays, which could result in the death of a recruit or Defence Force member.
"However, apparently it is not acceptable to ask these types of questions."
A list of reasons for her removal was not provided for 13 days after her dismissal on March 29, because Woodward was technically employed by a nursing agency, RED Alliance.
Senior Health Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Langworthy, told nurses at KHC that the ADF was not technically their employer. He reportedly said nurses have no right to appeal and the traditional concepts of natural justice and procedural fairness do not apply because Defence is technically not the employer.
"If this has nothing to do with Defence then why can a person be arbitrarily dismissed at the request of a Defence Force employee?"
"These dubious employment practices, which allow the real employer to avoid responsibility, have become common place under the Howard Government's industrial relations changes and here we have one of the Federal Government's own departments up to its neck in such practices," Ms Kiejda said.
The NSWNA has also filed an unfair dismissal case, on behalf of Ms Woodward, with the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, but it is still unclear of its status under the new federal industrial relations laws. Ms Woodward was removed from her position at KHC two days after those laws came into effect. RED Alliance advises the NSWNA it does not have 100 employees and, if that is true, it is now exempt from unfair dismissal laws.
The news comes as the Australian Army is currently casting performers for a training DVD on a non-union contract.
The job pays $350 for a ten-hour day and $225 for a half day. The usual Award minimum ensures a performer $626.75 for a full day, corporate video work, according to the Equity division of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
The Army also wants the right to adapt the performance for other uses without performer consent.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|