90% vote ‘Yes’ to ratios and pay offer

Editorialmarch2011March 2011

Public health system nurses and midwives have won 9.7% pay rises over the life of the agreement, and ratios as an equivalent to Nursing Hours Per Patient Day are now embedded in a legally-enforceable award.

A strong majority of NSWNA Branches have voted in favour of the public health system staffing ratios and pay offer. The final vote was 90% in favour.

As the Lamp goes to print, the award has just been formally made in the Industrial relations commission. This means it will be legally enforceable. All RNs, RMs, ENs and AiNs will soon receive backpay from the 2010 3.9% pay rise. This backpay will be delivered in a lump sum. The next 3% pay rise will start from your first full pay period that commences on or after 1 July 2011.

Recruitment of the approximately 1,400 FTE additional nurses needed to meet the higher staffing levels will commence from march this year and will be progressively implemented until June 2013.

NSWNA members have voted to lock in the gains made during this first nurse-to-patient ratios campaign. We will continue to build on these gains in the years ahead, especially in the areas of skill mix, community health, other specialties and smaller hospitals.

Between now and 2014 we will be working hard to see full implementation of the nursing ratios, Birthrate Plus, ACORN 2008 and the employment of the approximately 1,400 full-time equivalent nursing positions.

Good agreements in private hospitals and our aged care campaign continues

The public health system isn’t the only sector where we have had progress this month. A new agreement will deliver 3.85% pay rises over each of the next two years to 2,000 nurses employed in 12 Healthscope facilities in NSW. There have been similar pay improvements at Calvary Private hospital in Wagga Wagga.

No doubt in the next round of negotiations the public sector outcomes just achieved will provide inspiration for private hospital nurses when compiling their log of claims.

Our aged care campaign also continues with more opportunities to influence the Productivity commission’s final report through hearings that are soon to get under way.

We will keep members in touch with our activities around the hearings and I would encourage members in aged care and from other sectors to participate.

No matter who wins the election we will be advocates for nurses and midwives

This month sees a State election in NSW. As always, people should vote on the policies of parties and the party they believe will provide the best health-care system and the best leadership of the State for the future.

We should, however, bear in mind that a weak opposition can lead to a government believing they have a complete mandate to do as they wish, not as they promised. a clear example is when John Howard won control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate in the 2004 federal election – a result that encouraged him to introduce Workchoices.
More recently we have the unfolding situation in Britain and the United States where public sector cuts have become a central plank of government policy.

We will have to wait and see what happens in NSW. We always attempt to work with whoever is in government, and, as always, we will be unflinching advocates for our members and the professions of nursing and midwifery.