QUEENSLAND nurses and midwives will today lead the Labour Day march for the first time.
Queensland Nurses and Midwives' Union (QNMU) Secretary Beth Mohle said having the state's largest and most predominately female union at the head of the march was a proud and historic event.
"The QNMU is run by nurses and midwives dedicated to protecting and bettering the lives of health workers and those in their care,'' Ms Mohle said.
"Nurses and midwives work extremely hard behind closed doors to help Queenslanders at their most vulnerable.
"Today marks a very public opportunity to celebrate Queensland's nurses and midwives - without whom our community would be lost. Their invaluable contributions help us all.''
Ms Mohle said the 57,500-strong union was formed in 1982 and had been hard at work ever since.
She said the union was determined to continue to fight for rights and interests of Queensland nurses, midwives and the community. A national aged care campaign is underway to improve quality of life, safety and living conditions for Australian elderly in care and the QNMU is determined to continue to protect penalty rates for nurses and midwives – many who depend on penalties for up to a third of their income.
QNMU Assistant Secretary Sandra Eales said the union recently changed its name from the Queensland Nurses' Union (QNU) to the QNMU to reflect and celebrate the importance of midwives.
Ms Eales, a midwife of 30 years, said the role was a privilege.
"Childbirth is a profound event in the life of a woman, her child and her whole family. How she passes through that gateway experience will impact the rest of their lives,' Ms Eales said.
"The important role of midwives is often unseen as they work in an intimate space with a woman and her family. This name change is significant recognition of the valuable, powerful and unique role of midwives in our society.''
Midwives and nurses will march today to celebrate the largely female workforce and the union movement.