Nurses reject deal, reimpose bans

July 24, 2002


BRISBANE — Queensland nurses have rejected a pay and conditions deal proposed by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. On July 19, the Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) walked out of conciliation talks with the state Labor government and reimposed work bans that were lifted under AIRC orders in early July.

The bans include those forcing bed closures and elective surgery cancellations. QNU state secretary Gay Hawksworth said the "whole package" of government proposals simply was not acceptable. She said the 18% wage claim over three years by the union was "not an ambit claim".

"But we could have moved on that — and we moved substantially during negotiations — if the rest of the deal was acceptable", she said.

"Items such as in-charge-of-shift allowance, qualification allowance, night-shift provisions and rural and remote provisions were simply not addressed adequately."

The state government has now applied to terminate the bargaining period for wage negotiations, a strategy which, if successful, would remove legal protection from any further industrial action. This would allow the government to pursue the union through the Federal Court, which could impose heavy fines.

From Green Left Weekly, July 24, 2002.
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