4% pay rise for public nurses

New wages campaign next year.

All public health system nurses get a 4% pay rise from this month. It is the last of four increases totalling 14.75% over 31/2 years won by nurses in May 2005.

The 2005 There’s No Fix Without Nurses campaign succeeded after members of the NSW Nurses’ Association threatened strike action to force the state government to make an acceptable offer.

The current pay agreement expires on 30 June 2008 so next year will see a new wages campaign.

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes said the NSWNA industrial strategy team is now conducting research to prepare for next year’s campaign.

‘Members can also prepare by helping their union to become as strong as possible,’ he said.

‘For example, you can ask a nurse in your unit to join the Association, and attend your next NSWNA branch meeting so you can get involved in union campaigns at your workplace.’

The 2005 campaign achieved significant increases for public health system nurses. For example, weekly pay for an enrolled nurse thereafter grade rose from $734.20 before the agreement to $842.50 from 1 July this year. A 1st Year registered nurse went from $764.90 in 2004 to $877.70, and an 8th Year RN from $1,074.20 to $1,232.60.

Between 2000 and 2007 nurses have received a 47.3% increase in base pay.

Increases in base wage rates were not the only gains from the 2005 campaign.

Other improvements included:

  • 14 weeks’ paid maternity/adoption leave and one week paid paternity leave.
  • An average of $15 per week pay increase for ENs with medication endorsement.
  • Award entitlement to study leave.
  • Paid leave for union delegates to attend union education courses.
  • The right to take long service leave after seven years instead of 10 years.

Increases for private hospital nurses

Many private hospital nurses are also in line for pay rises this year, following successful campaigns by members in 2005-2006.

The next increase for Ramsay nurses under their union agreement is September 2007.

Healthscope nurses are due for an increase the same month, and Health-e nurses receive a rise in October.

Many other nurses working for private hospitals in the ‘Named Employers’ preserved state agreement have a pay rise coming in July 2007. For details go to www.nswnurses.asn.au – click on members only, then awards.

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes said these agreements will expire late next year and private hospital nurses will then need to stick together to ask their employer for a union collective agreement.

‘A union-negotiated collective agreement is now the strongest way for private sector nurses to secure and advance their pay and conditions,’ he said.

‘They are now covered by the federal IR laws which have abolished the award system covering whole industries. New agreements must be struck on an employer-by-employer basis – this is the new way in which increases to pay and conditions must be won.’

Aged care collective agreements

In aged care, the NSWNA is encouraging members to ask their employer to offer them the NSWNA/HSU/ACS union collective agreement which delivers a guaranteed 7% minimum pay increase by June 2009.

‘Some employers such as Hardi Group, Uniting Care Ageing, Presbyterian  Aged Care and the Salvation Army have already begun separate negotiations for a union collective agreement to provide their nurses with a legally enforceable set of conditions,’ Brett said.

Your new pay rates

Public health system nurses get a 4% increase effective from their first full pay period commencing on or after 1 July 2007.  Most allowances will also increase from the same date.  The following table shows examples of the new weekly pay rates.

Enrolled Nurse – Thereafter 842.50

Enrolled Nurse with Medication Endorsement – Thereafter 859.80

RN 1st year 877.80

RN 5th year 1075.30

RN 8th year 1232.60

CNS and CNE 1282.70

CNC grade 2, 2nd year 1636.40

NUM level 1 1546.20

NUM level 2 1619.60

Nurse Manager level 4 year 1 1793.70