Wednesday, February 09, 2005

‘One man band Netto seeking to destroy union’ - says TGWU Chief

• Nurses meet to consider action

TGWU/ACTS yesterday responded to the criticisms made by nurses leader Michael Netto against the Union, with their own counter-accusations that the allegations by their fellow trade unionist were “malicious and unfounded.”

This is the latest clash in the on-going battle of words between the TGWU leadership and the outgoing Nursing Section Committee that resigned earlier this week.

It emerged last night that nurses will meet this afternoon to consider strike action.
“We want the move, of course, but there are many longstanding issues Government is failing to address”, one nurse told the Chronicle, adding that morale is at a record low.

In a scathing response the TGWU says that the public must understand that in reality the Nursing Section Committee “does not exist” and that in reality “it is a one man band, Michael Netto, while the rest of the committee are there to say yes to everything he proposes.” Mr Netto is also accused of wanting “to destroy the Union.”
The TGWU state that the “one man committee lashes out” that the majority of the nurses “are manipulated by the GSLP,” while attacking the Union “for making a mockery of basic trade union principles,” the Government “for using bullying tactics,” and also disagrees with the GHA management “over some issues.”

A TGWU statement asks:

Mr Netto condemns everybody for not following his line. This means that according to him, all the organisations are wrong and he is right. The question everybody is asking is – What is the objective behind his fanatical position?

The Union continued:

Our Officials are trying their utmost to try and obtain a good deal for nurses, if we talk to Government to achieve a solution – we are criticised by him, if we do not speak to the Government and do not get a solution – we are also criticised. The TGWU/ACTS is left with no choice.

Mr Netto should realise that the new hospital is for the care and benefit of the patients. A balance must be maintained between the care of patients and terms and conditions of staff. The TGWU/ACTS and not Mr Netto has been constantly issuing leaflets to members informing them of the current situation, since none of the “members” of the Nursing Section have been informing members of the many meetings with management that have taken place.

In the statement by Mr Netto, there is no reference as to what are the issues pending nor the problems he is apparently encountering. For the TGWU/ACTS there are three issues: 1. Move to New Hospital: The Government through the Minister for Health, Mr Britto, has given a written commitment that the wards will be staffed at a higher nurse per bed ratio than the old hospital, thereby increasing staffing levels. That now hospital wards will have more not less staff.

2. Pending Pay claims: The pay claims for Enrolled and Senior Nurses have been agreed. The only outstanding issue is the date of implementation. The TGWU/ACTS wants the 1st April 2004, and the Government as from 1st November 2004 as for Staff Enrolled Nurse retrospection date is 1st April 1999. Nevertheless the Government is willing to sit down and negotiate a satisfactory solution. 3. The pay claim for Chargenurse/Sister is under consideration. The Geriatric Allowance claim has been agreed, retrospection is the one issue where there is discrepancies.

Transfer to Mount Alvernia of Long Stay Patients.

This has been agreed and only nurses who volunteered to the move will be transferred. Those who did not want to move, the TGWU/ACTS have protected and supported them. In reality we do not understand that there are major issues to be resolved. As such it is incomprehensible that the one man committee (and co-opted for that matter) should on his own accord, take this unprecedented and irresponsible move.


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