Agreement in the pipeline for Baptist Community Services

Strong union membership at Baptist Community Services looks set to achieve a Union Collective Agreement that delivers an 11% payrise and improved conditions.

Nurses working for Baptist Community Services found that sticking together and working with the NSWNA to negotiate a Union Collective Agreement with their employer was the best route to achieving certainty in wages and conditions.

Negotiations were finalised as The Lamp went to print, and nurses employed by Baptist Community Services (BCS) are expected to vote on the proposed Agreement in early April.

Once endorsed by members and signed by the NSWNA, the three-year agreement will provide certainty in wages and conditions through to September 2009, and will cover all nurses employed at the 15 facilities run by BCS, including nurses working in residential and community programs.

Thanks to an active union membership at these facilities, the NSWNA was in a strong bargaining position and worked with BCS to achieve significant improvements on pay and conditions.

Jacqui Du Bouley is a Nurse Educator and NSWNA Branch President at the Orana Nursing Home, a BCS facility in Gosford. ‘I wanted my union to negotiate a Union Collective Agreement because it gives us the best protection,’ she said.

‘The process of negotiating the agreement gave members a voice about what they wanted. A meeting was held with a representative from the NSWNA, and members all had an opportunity to say what they wanted in the agreement.

‘Non members wanted to join the union so they could also have a say,’ said Jacqui.

Under the proposed Agreement, nurses will receive an immediate 3.5% pay increase, followed by an additional minimum 3.5% in September 2007 and minimum 3.5% in September 2008. Australian Fair Pay Commission increases will be paid when they increase the minimum rate above the rate provided in the Agreement, closing the gap in pay rates for AINs and CSEs.

The Agreement also proposes improved conditions including:

  • Recognition of the classification of Endorsed Enrolled Nurse (EEN). The EEN pay scale will be equivalent to the Care Supervisor classification scale;
  • Casual employees will have the right to apply for conversion to permanent employment in certain circumstances;
  • The minimum engagement for part-time and casual employees has been increased from two hours to three;
  • A dispute settlement procedure has been introduced which makes the agreement enforceable, leading to arbitration if we cannot resolve our differences directly;
  • BCS has also agreed to negotiate a Union Collective Agreement for nurse management positions.