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Disability nurses fight back

By Karen Keast | Last Updated: 19-11-2013

New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association's ADHC campaign

More than 1000 disability nurses in New South Wales are campaigning for pay parity with nurses in the public system.

Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) nurses who work under the Department of Family and Community Services are also the first nurses to face major State Government cuts to their award, targeting annual leave, penalty rates and travel allowances.

New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association spokesperson Lisa Kremmer said ADHC nurses are paid about six per cent less than nurses in the public system.

Ms Kremmer said pay disparity coupled with the proposed award cuts had prompted ADHC nurses to fight back.

“Nurses working in that sector have had their pay fall significantly behind pay in the public health system,” she said.

“Nursing is
a competitive industry where nurses are in demand and nurses have to earn a living wage, a decent wage.

“Nurses that continue to work in ADHC love the job but that doesn’t pay the bills.”

Ms Kremmer said morale among ADHC nurses had reached a new low.

“I think it’s fair to say morale is pretty poor,” she said.

“They feel like they are a silent minority, that they are not respected and they are not recognised for the valuable contribution that they make to the quality of life for people with a disability.

“This is about these nurses being able to stay in the sector.

“For clients, it will mean appropriate nursing care into the future, and that’s important.”

Cuts to the Crown Employees Award affecting about 80,000 public sector workers state-wide, including ADHC nurses, include:

• Removing the 17.5 per cent annual leave loading
• Cutting penalty rates through changing the definition of a shift worker to someone who works outside 7.30am to 6pm
• Removing some shift workers’ annual leave from six and seven weeks to a maximum of five weeks for all
• Abolishing Family and Community Service leave
• Cutting travel allowances and also axing benefits for remote workers, such as remote allowance, additional leave and travel assistance
• Changing the way injured workers access sick leave.

To support ADHC nurses visit the campaign website here.
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