WA nurses union avoids deregistration, says no plans for further strikes in bitter pay dispute

Home Politics WA nurses union avoids deregistration, says no plans for further strikes in bitter pay dispute
WA nurses union avoids deregistration, says no plans for further strikes in bitter pay dispute

The Australian Nursing Federation has said a threat to deregister the union will not be carried out, after the union met with Western Australia’s industrial umpire.

In a dramatic change of tone following the meeting this morning, Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) WA secretary Janet Reah declined to repeat criticisms she had levelled at the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) earlier this week.

“I can’t speak about the meeting we just had in the commission because that’s confidential,” she said.

“What I can say is the ANF is still a registered union.

“My plans for now are I’m going to go and talk to the members about where we go from here.”

The ANF has been locked in a bitter dispute with the government about pay and conditions.

The meeting was called after the IRC warned the ANF it could face suspension for defying multiple orders, including by holding a strike last week.

ANF still flagging long campaign

Ms Reah has now said the union has no plans for further strikes.

Serena, a nurse from King Edward Memorial Hospital with a sign saying ratios save lives
Nurses walked off the job last Friday as part of their pay dispute.(ABC News: Nicolas Perpitch)

“At this point there are no plans for industrial action,” she said.

“I want to say to the members that we are in for a long campaign, and I believe the government is not going to capitulate easily to our requests.

“It’s still an ongoing issue, there’s no orders or retraction of the summons as yet, but we’re still a registered union.”

On Tuesday Ms Reah accused the government of being behind the threat to deregister the union and said the IRC had been influenced by the government.

Asked today whether she still believed that was the case, Ms Reah was less candid.

“I can’t speak about that at the moment,” she said.

IRC completely independent: Premier

The government has strongly rejected the claims it made any attempt to influence the IRC.

“The Industrial Relations Commission is independent of government, we don’t control it, it’s like the courts, there’s a lot of misinformation being spread to you that somehow this is the government,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

A middle-aged man with dark hair wearing a suit and tie speaks at a press conference.
Mark McGowan has dismissed claims his government is influencing the IRC’s decisions.(ABC News: James Carmody)

“It is nothing to do with the government, the Industrial Relations Commission is separate, as are the courts. They run their own affairs.

“I’m not going to try and influence them in what they do, they are completely independent of us, it would be inappropriate for anyone to ignore their orders, or to try and tell them what to do.”

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