Tomorrow, Saturday 23 June, is World Public Services Day – ironic timing considering the pointed attacks on public servants – and thus public services - we’ve seen in New South Wales in the past two weeks. Nurses are certainly not exempt from these attacks – the majority of us are public servants who deliver an invaluable public service.
For the past year NSW has been part of a vicious worldwide trend – attacks on wages, working conditions, pensions, public service unions and the vital services we provide to our communities. In its first year in power, the O’Farrell state Government has introduced legislation that will severely impact the wages and working conditions of public sector workers, drastically cut the workers compensation scheme and in last week’s state budget, in the name of ‘returning to surplus’, retrenched 15,000 public sector workers.
Yesterday nurses joined other unionists, noteably the firefighters, to protest in Macquarie Street as the workers compensation legislation was ‘debated’ in the Parliament.
Fire trucks fill Macquarie Street as firefighters go on strike against the workers compensation changes, 21 June, 2012. (Scroll down to see more photos.)
The ‘firies’ won an exemption from the changes because of their dramatically noisy protest and strike – which you can listen to here!
This new workers compensation law leaves all workers (not just unionists!) other than emergency workers in a dire position should they suffer a workplace injury. For us in NSW, this forms the background to World Public Services Day tomorrow.
The NSW Nurses’ Association is an affiliate of Public Services International (PSI) – a global trade union federation dedicated to promoting quality public services in every part of the world. We’re among 20 million workers represented by 650 unions from 140 countries and territories. PSI’s membership, two-thirds women, work in social services, health care, municipal and community services, central government and public utilities such as water and electricity.
This year for World Public Services Day, as already highlighted on Nurse Uncut, PSI is calling for fair taxes through a financial transactions tax (FTT). A tiny tax on financial transactions would raise billions of dollars to help create good jobs in a sustainable economy, end growing inequality and improve vital public services. The unregulated greed of financial institutions (including the insurance companies who benefit from the workers compensation scheme) has harmed people around the world.
This is not an impossibility!
Through global campaigning efforts by PSI and others, several European countries have already made progress towards instituting an FTT.
To take action on World Public Services Day on Saturday, you can:
- Sign the Geneva Charter to support quality public services
- Visit Quality Public Services – Action Now! and sign up for email updates
- Follow @nswnurses on Twitter and get involved in a mass Twitter action on 23 June. Help generate thousands of tweets of support for the FTT from around the world. Include #QPSActionNow and #FTT in all your messages tomorrow.
See more photos, especially of nurses, at yesterday’s workers compensation rally.
Image credit: NSWNA