Branch officials vital to Allity campaign
Nurse delegates keep co-workers involved and up to date in campaign for a better deal.
As the Allity dispute has gone on, employees have become even more determined to win a better deal, says Anne Breadon, NSWNMA branch president at Beechwood nursing home.
Anne, a registered nurse, has worked at Beechwood for 27 years.
As an NSWNMA branch official, she acts as a link between union organisers and her fellow nurses.
She conveys information and the views of her co-workers to union organisers.
“I grab every opportunity to talk to staff and keep them up to date with what’s happening in the campaign,” she says.
Most communication is informal, such as a chat in the staff room. When there are decisions to be taken, Anne and her fellow branch officials call a branch meeting.
She says workers strongly supported a petition calling on the company to negotiate with the union for a new agreement.
“The petition made them sit up and realise that Allity is a business and we need to stand up for ourselves to get a better deal.
“A decent pay rise is important and so is the need to improve staffing.
“People are fed up with being left short staffed with no contingency plans and with management telling them, ‘You’ll get through it; it’s just a matter of time management and prioritising your work’.
“There is no real opportunity for staff to discuss workload issues.”
Anne says senior management applied a lot of pressure to employees to vote ‘Yes’ to inadequate offers.
“We even had a manager from head office sit in our staffroom during a branch meeting and stare at people attending the meeting.
“Despite the pressure, more staff have joined the union.
“A lot of people are doing it tough and are reluctant to spend the money on union fees, but they realise the benefits of being a member outweigh the cost.
“That’s a reflection of the great effort our union organisers have put in to get us all a better deal.
“I am overwhelmed by the work they’ve done. The Nurses and Midwives’ Association have done themselves proud.”