Before Howard`s confrontational IR laws took grip

The majority of members working in private hospitals will enjoy a pay rise from September 2006 – the first rollout in Agreements negotiated by the NSWNA that deliver pay parity with public hospital nurses.

Nurses at Ramsay and Healthscope private hospitals will receive a 4% pay rise from the first full pay period on or after 1 September 2006; nurses at Healthe Care hospitals will receive 4% from 1 October 2006; and nurses covered by the Private Hospital Nurses’ & Midwives’ (Named Employers & NSWNA) Enterprise Agreement will receive 3.5% from the first full pay period on or after 1 September 2006.

The Agreements deliver a 14.75% pay rise over two and half years – meaning pay parity with their public hospital colleagues – and protect existing conditions until 1 September 2008.

Negotiated under the pall of the federal government’s confrontational IR legislation, winning pay parity was a big achievement – won thanks to a determined campaign waged by private hospital members.

The Association worked under intense pressure to negotiate the Agreements with private hospital employers before WorkChoices came into effect on 27 March 2006.

With the Agreements in place, the pay rises are now locked in and conditions protected until 1 September 2008.

Debbie Lang, CNS at North Gosford Private Hospital, owned by Healthe Care, is relieved to have the protection of an NSWNA Enterprise Agreement. ‘The pay rise will be welcomed by members – especially with the rise in interest rates and other pressures – but I just feel deep relief that we have an Agreement in place that locks in pay and conditions.

‘I appreciate the hard work of the Association and our management in getting the Agreement in place, it was a great achievement. The NSWNA worked with Healthe Care to get the Agreement signed off just days before WorkChoices came into effect. It was critical to get the Agreement signed off with the uncertainty of WorkChoices just around the corner,’ said Debbie.

‘We were fortunate to have an employer who behaved ethically and agreed to negotiate with our Association and pay nurses what we deserve. We work hard and Healthe Care recognised this. We feel valued by Healthe Care, it did the right thing by nurses.

‘I feel shocked when I think about what could happen if nurses are exposed to WorkChoices with no protection. I don’t think all nurses really understand how dangerous the new IR laws are’ she said.

‘We’re already seeing cases where employers are taking advantage of loop-holes in the legislation to exploit workers.’