Tasmanian nurses, midwives and healthcare workers went on strike last week, pushed to the brink by years of chronic under resourcing, short staffing and low pay. Over 500 workers at the Royal Hobart Hospital went on strike, with hundreds more joining digital stop work action across the state.
A revolving door of Premiers and Ministers has failed to provide the reset Tasmania’s health system desperately needs. Workers know that when their calls for support fall on deaf ears, the only alternative is to take action.
Tasmania’s political landscape is changing. Rocked by inflation, which has seen the cost of essentials like transport, groceries, health, housing and food skyrocket 6.5% over the last twelve months, working people are realising the only people we can depend on to protect our living standards are each other.
“[Low wage growth] is a deliberate feature of our economic architecture.”
Mathias Cormann, Morrison Government Finance Minister
As ACTU Secretary Sally McManus pointed out, this cost-of-living crisis could have been prevented if corporate giants had put people over profit. Day in, day out we’re repeatedly told that an increase to wages will cause inflation to spiral. In fact, the opposite is true. Research from The Australia Institute has revealed that unrestrained corporate profits have been the core driver of inflation.
Just last week the ABS revealed that a decade of wages growth has been wiped out: real wages are the lowest they’ve been since December 2011. It’s clear that the rules that were meant to protect our rights are failing us. We need to change the rules.
It’s also clear that the Rockliff Government doesn’t have a plan to stop Tasmanians’ living standards from continuing to decline. They budgeted just 2.5% for public sector wages, a disgraceful move which would lock in a further reduction in real wages.
But public sector workers can take heart in the fact that the Tasmanian community is standing with us. It’s time for us to join with nurses and stand up to show the Rockliff Government that we deserve better.