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Wednesday, 14 August 1974
Page: 879

Senator GRIMES (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Is the Minister for Repatriation and Compensation aware of the present strike by nursing aides at 2 repatriation hospitals- the Concord Repatriation General Hospital and the Lady Davidson Hospital? If so, what action is proposed concerning these strikes? Will the patients at these hospitals be affected at all by these strikes?

Senator WHEELDON - I am aware of the industrial dispute which has developed, as Senator Grimes said, at the Concord Repatriation General Hospital and the Lady Davidson Hospital, both in New South Wales. Nursing aides at both of these hospitals stopped work last Friday because their industrial organisation, the Hospital Employees Federation, was dissatisfied with the offer of increased pay made by the Public Service Board. The nursing aides at the Lady Davidson Hospital returned to work yesterday, but apparently they are going to resume their strike this afternoon. Approximately 300 nursing aides are involved in the dispute. They have received 3 increases in pay since March this year. The reason for their present dissatisfaction is that the pay offer which has been made to them by the Public Service Board falls short of the rates of pay for comparable work in other New South Wales public hospitals.

The Board has offered to reconsider the matter if further submissions are made by the union, but the nursing aides have declined to return to work until a further offer is made by the Board. The dispute has now been referred to the Public Service Arbitrator in accordance with the Act. The dispute has been notified to him by the Repatriation Commission. We have asked for an early conference to be held to examine the situation. So far there has been no serious effect on the patients at either of these hospitals, and the sisters, nursing staff and medical staff are giving the necessary attention without any great difficulties having occurred.

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