COLAC and district nurses used Premier Ted Baillieu’s visit to the region to push their claim for better conditions.
About 40 nurses from Colac, Camperdown, Geelong and Warrnambool campaigned outside the opening of the Corangamite Shire Council’s new offices in Camperdown, which Mr Baillieu opened.
Colac midwife and union key member Pauline Wheeler said it was an opportunity to let the Premier know the campaign to protest nurse-to-patient ratios was continuing.
“It’s hard to ignore a sea of red,” she said.
“Let him know that we haven’t forgotten that he’s not coming to the party, that he’s not negotiating fairly, and just let him know that we haven’t forgotten that we want our ratios to stay as they are.”
Camperdown nurse Therese Skene said she wanted to let Mr Baillieu know that nurses would continue to fight to “keep our patients safe”.
“Well we hope that he realises that we are certainly not going away, we’re here to fight our EBA to look after our community,” she said.
Nurses and midwives are also calling for an 18.5-per-cent pay rise over four years, and have concerns over the potential introduction of short shifts and nursing assistants to replace registered nurses.
Ms Wheeler said nurses were considering mass resignations if conditions aren’t met.
“Organisers are coming to Colac on the 2nd of February to meet with staff to talk about the mass authorisation for resignations on behalf of nursing staff,” she said.
“I would hope it really doesn’t have to come to that, but if we lose our ratios, no one’s going to want to stay in nursing anyway, it’s a lose-lose situation if the government don’t agree to what we are proposing.”
Negotiations between the Baillieu Government and the Australian Nursing Federation resume at Fair Work Australia on Friday.