Hundreds of nurses plan to walk off the job at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and adopt work bans today as they press their pay claim with the State Government.
The Australian Nursing Federation originally sought a wage jump of 20 per cent per year over three years, but members who attended a union meeting after walking off the job at Royal Perth Hospital yesterday said they would accept a 15 per cent per year increase.
The State has offered them three per cent a year - roughly equivalent to inflation - and a further 1.25 per cent per annum if they give up certain conditions.
While the wrangling continues with the Health Department of Western Australia, the nurses will not do any work that does not directly involve patient care, including removing rubbish, cleaning toilets and bathrooms and moving medical equipment in and out of theatre rooms.
Nurses at Royal Perth adopted the work bans yesterday.
The nurses say they’ve been forced to do work that would normally be done by orderlies and cleaners - positions that had been cut back.
ANF state secretary Mark Olson said the work bans would slow down the operations of any hospital where they were implemented, suggesting more are in store.
The first casualty would be the state government’s rule that patients are treated and cleared from emergency departments within four hours, he said.
Mr Olson said the rule relied heavily on the goodwill of nurses to function.
“It will be impossible for hospitals to continue to get patients out of the emergency departments within the designated four hours,“ he said.
“For that to happen, nurses have to clean rooms and equipment, clean operating theatres, move patients, move furniture and equipment or collect medications and fill out paperwork for patients being discharged - all of which will no longer be happening at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital after today.”
Mr Olson called on the State Government to “show some respect and make nurses a decent offer”.
The nurses will hold at rally at the hospital at 1.30pm.