Finally, a fair deal at Peninsula

After initially rejecting a non-union agreement, nurses at Peninsula Village have won a new enterprise agreement, with assistance from the NSWNA.

In June 2009, nurses at Peninsula Village were facing the prospect of pay cuts and a reduction in leave entitlements. Management at the aged care facility on the Central Coast tried to push through a collective agreement that aimed to exclude unions just one week before the start of the Government’s Fair Work laws.

At the time, NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda branded the move ‘outrageous and un-Australian’.

‘Nurses would have lost their job titles and there were no guaranteed wage increases over the life of the four-year agreement,’ she said in the August issue of The Lamp.

Members reactivated their local NSWNA branch, and agreed to vote against the non-union agreement.

On members’ behalf, the NSWNA stepped in to ask Peninsula to come to the bargaining table to start negotiations for a fair agreement that did not reduce standards and guaranteed wage increases. Peninsula has now offered its staff an Enterprise Agreement based on the ACS template, negotiated by the NSWNA, Aged and Community Services Association and HSU.

Over 50 aged care employers have offered nurses agreements based on this template.

The two-year agreement at Peninsula Village will see staff receive a 3% pay rise in November 2009 and another 3% from the first full pay period after July 2010. The new agreement also offers improved conditions such as nine weeks’ paid maternity and adoption leave and one week paid paternity leave, 20% casual loading, and nurses’ classifications remain.

‘This is an excellent result for nurses working at Peninsula,’ said Judith Kiejda. ‘If staff had accepted the employer’s non-union agreement they would be far worse off in terms of wages and conditions. Instead they are now reaping the benefits of collective action, which delivered a very good agreement.

‘It is a positive move for the employer to adopt the ACS template agreement and we congratulate them. It shows they value their staff.’