It’s June 22nd, and worker unrest is increasing by the day – in Victoria the Australian Education Union, and the Australian Nursing Federation continue attempts to negotiate fair outcomes for teachers and nurses respectively, while the National Tertiary Education Union desperately fights the cruel cuts made to the vocational education sector. In NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has publicly stated that his government has “a mandate from the electorate” to strip WorkCover to the bone (just passed – WorkCover claimants have to pay their own legal fees, and potentially pay WorkCover’s costs, if they pursue appeals).
And in the UK doctors have taken almost unprecedented strike action. As with our action, much of the main stream media coverage is negative – to get the union perspective you have to go to the Left press, which has is not without its own problems (which I’ll address shortly). What I found heartening is that this action is supported by the BMA, and this quote:
“We should coordinate action with other workers fighting over pensions,” [East London GP Kambiz Boomla] said. “And we should be out alongside the rest of the public sector the next time they strike. [source]”
This attitude is, to the best of my knowledge, unprecedented; while Dr Boomla is not a BMA official, I’m not aware of doctors in Australia publicly speaking out in support of joint industrial action with other health service providers.
I look forward to the day when our campaigns for better patient care and appropriate funding for the public health care system are supported by all health care professionals, and not by us alone. And it wouldn’t hurt the AMA to campaign for better numbers of junior medical staff, particularly out of hours, and especially in light of yesterday’s news that there won’t be internship positions for almost 500 Victorian medical graduates next year. We’re all in this together – and I’m particularly thinking of my mental health and RDNS colleagues.
Which is what I was going to write about this evening, because there’s been an ANF update. Well, that, an update on the barbarous butchery of the NSW WorkCover legislation, and a comment on Premier Baillieu’s close-of-business-and-pretty-much-too-late-to-hit-the-dinner-news-cycle announcement that he is cutting 3,615 non-“frontline” jobs from the public service. But what was before what was going to be a footnote about Left and main stream coverage of the ANF’s EBA campaign took on a life of its own.
I originally posted my take on the Left coverage of our campaign here, but have decided to fold it into my discussion of the campaign as a whole, so skip back a couple of posts to part 4 of that series, on media coverage.