WA Premier Mark McGowan blasts striking nurses
WA Premier Mark McGowan has blasted nurses who decided to strike on Friday, labelling their actions as illegal and urging them to stay at work.
Thousands of nurses are striking outside the state’s parliament over pay and conditions, despite the Industrial Relations Commission taking the extraordinary step of banning any company from transporting workers to the strike who are supposed to be at work.
In the regional WA town of Collie on Friday, the Premier said: “I just urge nurses to stay at work today.”
“I don’t understand why this industrial action is taking place against the orders of the Industrial Relations Commission,” Mr McGowan said.
He said the IRC was “completely independent” of government.
“This is unlawful activity. I just urge them to pull back; accept the very good offer put by the government, which is better than most states,” Mr McGowan said.
He said the offer afforded workers a pay rise, with nurses to patient ratios satisfied and requested allowances added.
“They are breaking the law, the union, by doing this.”
Mr McGowan said the strike was “unlawful, criminal activity”.
Australian Nurses Union boss Janet Reah told Perth radio station 6PR on Friday morning it would be the government, not nurses, who would have blood on their hands.
Ms Reah said the WA Health Minister, Amber-Jade Sanderson, called her on Friday morning and asked her to call off the strike.
She said she wanted a five per cent pay rise across the board, a $3000 cost of living payment, and nurse to patient ratios.
“We’re a valuable commodity and the government needs to recognise that,” Ms Reah said.
Referring to her negotiations with the IRC, Ms Reah said “most of the talking has been them berating us”.