||Issue No. 312||23 June 2006|
Striking Out Rights
Interview: Rock Solid
Industrial: Eight Simple Rules for Employing My Teenage Daughter
Politics: The Johnnie Code
Energy: Fission Fantasies
History: All The Way With Clarrie O'Shea
International: Closer to Home
Economics: Taking the Fizz
Unions: Stronger Together
Review: Montezuma's Revenge
Poetry: Fair Go Gone
The Locker Room
Nurses Reject Low Road
The three-year deal, endorsed last week, delivers 25 percent increases, against earnings cuts contained in a string of highly-publicised individual agreements.
Under the agreement, salaries of level one nurses will rise from $53,525 to $64,496 by March, 2009. The base rates of unit and ward managers will climb from 66,929 to $86,416.
The settlement brings Queensland nurses up to parity with colleagues in southern states.
Queensland Nurses Union secretary, Gay Hawksworth, said 71 percent of 11,455 nurses had voted to accept the Beattie Government offer.
She said recruitment and retention would be bolstered by the agreement.
Hawksworth compared the result with the wages nurses earned in private hospitals, under the control of federal government policies.
"If anyone is in any doubt that the Howard Government's agenda is to cut pay rates across society they should have a look at wage trends in the aged care industry over the last ten years," Hawksworth said.
"A couple of examples in Townsville prove just how poorly the current Federal Government treats nurses. A full-time, experienced assistant in nursing (AIN) at Pallarenda Garden Settlement is currently on about $625.00 per week and at the Good Shepherd Nursing Home he or she is on about $610.00.
"An equivalent AIN at the Townsville Hospital is on about $705.00. That's nearly $80.00 per week or $4000.00 per year in both cases and it's all because the Federal Government is committed to driving wages down in as many areas of the economy as possible."
Canberra brought into the row through the federal member for Herbert, Peter Lindsay, who told parliament the nurses settlement was "irresponsible".
Lindsay made his name telling constituents blatant lies about WorkChoices, including the following, still on his personal website: "Union claims that workers will lose penalty rates, overtime payments, long service leave and leaving loading are not correct."
Hawksworth said politicians like Lindsay were determined to push their low pay agenda into public hospitals.
"They seem to forget that their low-pay policies contributed to one of the most severe nurse shortages this country has faced for a long time. " she said.
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