WA nurses fight for pay rise

Issue 


By Leon Harrison
PERTH — The Court government refuses to negotiate with WA nurses on a wages campaign despite them being among the lowest paid in the country. In 1991 nurses in all other states received a pay increase of 8-14% following a national campaign for 10%. The state government only agrees to pay rises in return for trading off shift penalties and rostered days off. The Australian Nurses Federation (ANF) rejects this.
Nurses have also opposed industrial minister Graham Kierath's proposal for a non-union enterprise bargaining agreement. A Rockingham and Kwinana Hospital ballot revealed that 52% of staff opposed enterprise bargaining agreements, with only 26% in favour.
A ballot on enterprise bargaining will soon be held at Royal Perth Hospital. If nurses vote against it the government's plans for non-union enterprise bargaining will be defeated.
In an attempt to divide the wages campaign, the Court government has encouraged medical officers in non-teaching hospitals to increase their fees.
The WA nurses' pay claim will go to the federal Industrial Relations Commission at the end of October.
Meanwhile, the Court government has threatened to stop nurses automatic pay-roll deductions of union dues.

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