Saturday 2nd April 2011
The NSWNA is preparing to negotiate the renewal of the template agreement for members working in the not-for-profit aged care industry.
The benchmark-setting template agreement negotiated by the NSWNA, Health Services Union (HSU) and employer association Aged & Community Services Association (ACS) expires at the end of June.
‘We will be sending out a survey to members requesting their feedback on what they would like included in the new agreement, as well as telling us what isn’t working in the current one,’ said NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda.
A Log of Claims Committee was elected last month and is working on a strategy to retain existing benefits as well as secure extra, improved conditions. NSWNA officials will embark on a regional roadshow to talk to members about the proposed new agreement.
Judith Kiejda stressed the importance of coming to a session or completing the Associaton survey.
The first two-year agreement came into effect in 2007 and improved and protected the wages and conditions of thousands of members working in the not-for-profit aged care industry. It was secured at a time when the Howard Government’s WorkChoices legislation abolished the Nursing Homes &c. Nurses’ (State) Award.
‘We hope that employers will work with us to put together a third two-year agreement that will see aged care nurses in this sector continue to be valued for their hard work.’
Christine Spangler, AiN at St Anne’s Nursing Home in Broken Hill, was recently elected to the Log of Claims Committee.
‘I’m hoping I can make a positive contribution to our Log of Claims because I’m an AiN and all aged care nurses get a raw deal in aged care,’ she told The Lamp.
‘It’s important for members to take the time to fill the survey out and send their feedback to us on what they would like to see in the agreement. One issue we’ll be looking at, of course, is pay rises and also workloads and conditions. We’ll wait for the surveys to come back to dissect any other claims.’
Christine urged members without a Branch to form one at their facility. ‘You get a much better idea of what is going on with a Branch as you have access to NSWNA officials who come out to your site and explain the proposals in the agreement,’ she said. ‘I would strongly encourage nursing staff in aged care to form a Branch if they don’t already have one.’