|Issue No 87||10 March 2001|
Ambos Tried Without a Jury
Ambulance officers have hit back at a Parliamentary attack by Health Minister Craig Knowles who this week attempted to blame workers for management problems within the service.
Health and Research Employees Association Michael Williamson told last night's Labor Council meeting he was bewildered by the criticisms, given that none of the issues had been raised with the workers or the union.
He says the attack is a smokescreen for the real problems of under-resourcing, which is forcing ambulances to queue up to unload patients outside hospitals instead of responding to emergencies.
Knowles went on the attack days before the release of an Auditor-General's report which criticised the service - highlighting increased workloads, delays in unloading patients and chronic staff shortages.
He attempted to blame union resistance to change for the problems rather than accepting the government's management, which has seen six CEOs in nine years, as being at the heart of the problem.
Williamson says the Minister's attack on the Union was surprising as neither his office, nor the Health Administration Corporation, nor the Ambulance Service of NSW has held discussions with the Union over these alleged "inflexible work practices".
HREA's frustration was recognised in the Industrial Relations Commission on Thursday when the Commissioner noted that as no inflexible work practices have been brought to the union's attention, the Association had been left in the difficult position of being unable to answer the allegation that we have been involved in such practices.
Williamson says te Ministers comments, which were spoken at the very time that Association officials were meeting with the Ambulance Service to resolve this dispute, were counterproductive and inflammatory in the extreme.
"The practical effect of the Minister's comments is that the allegation of "inflexible work practices" has deflected attention from the real problems facing the Ambulance Service, namely chronic shortages of Ambulance Officers and that per capita funding for the Ambulance Service in NSW is one of the lowest in Australia," he says.
These are the real contributing causes, along with issues of mismanagement, which prevents the Ambulance Service from attaining its full potential."
Interview: Working Woman
Cheryl Kernot on women in the workplace, Labor's male culture and where Meg went wrong.
Activists: Honouring Our Heroes
Anna Stewart changed the lives of Australian working families by helping women achieve balance between the competing demands of work and family.
Women: The Future is Female
Julia Gillard outlines the campaign to increase female representation within the Australian Labor Party.
Unions: Sweatshops � Beyond 2001
FairWear convenor Debbie Carstens looks over a unique partnership between churches and unions to end exploitation in the textile industry.
Politics: The Battle for Bennelong
Many trade unionists are working to kick John Howard out of office. But only one woman has a chance of kicking him out of his own seat. Meet Nicole Campbell.
International: Border Skirmishes
Alana Kerr travelled to Thailand to observe first hand the battle to organise Burmese women workers in exile.
History: Inside the Ladies Lounge
The McDonald sisters run Trades Hall, and have for over half a century. The building can�t speak about what has gone on in that time, but Lorna and Elaine probably know it all.
Satire: Taliban to Put One Nation Last
The Parliamentary fate of Pauline Hanson�s One Nation party was further obscured today as key fellow right-wing extremists moved to distance themselves from the controversial Queensland politician and the group she founded and leads.
Review: Seven Steps to Slavation
Jenny Macklin details the seven barriers that stand between women and a better working life.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005