‘For us to walk out is pretty serious’
“We are experiencing huge nursing shortages. Staff are working two overtime shifts a week just to try and maintain staffing. We’ve had a ratio of 6 NHPPD for at least the past five years, but a few months ago it was taken down to 5.5. We fought for six to be reinstated, but for many days we weren’t even meeting the minimum.
Everyone is exhausted. Some of the nursing wards are short by 50–120 nursing hours a week, which is equivalent to a morning and afternoon shift.
The Wyong branch voted to take industrial action for two hours on 16 June, outside the hospital.
It was very hard to plan because there were a lot of scare tactics used by management, as well as with the government telling us we will be fined if we fight for our rights and our patients. An email was sent out 15 minutes before our meeting and it basically said there have been orders put out – you are not allowed to do industrial action.
People were nervous, but we knew we were supported by the Association. Striking is not something we want to do; we do this because we’re not being listened to. For us to walk out is pretty serious. I don’t think we’ve done this for over ten years.
Staff who weren’t rostered on accompanied us out on the hill for the two hours in solidarity with those who took time off their shift, to make sure they were okay.
Members of the public passing by were tooting their car horns and clapping.
Members are angry. We would be more than happy to do this again, and hopefully it will be bigger next time.”
— Kelly Falconer, President, Wyong Hospital Branch