Moran threatens legal action

Moran offended by plain words but downgrading of ENs continues

The Moran Health Care Group has threatened legal action against your union as a result of a 96-word ‘Stop Press’ in the February 2006 edition of The Lamp.

The Lamp reported that the Moran Health Care Group had downgraded two EN positions to an AiN classification as a cost-cutting measure.

In a letter to the ENs at their Tweed Heads facility on 20 December 2005, Moran management wrote: ‘It is with regret that I must inform you that the position of Enrolled Nurse is to be made redundant.

‘However, in lieu of retrenchment I am pleased to advise that we are able to continue your employment with the facility as an Assistant in Nursing for 75 hours per fortnight.’

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes said, ‘While the company pledged not to decrease the EN’s current rate of pay, no further increase would be paid. The company showed no respect for the professional status of hard-working nurses who have worked loyally for many years. One of the members concerned has worked at the facility for 25 years.’

Both nurses signed the new agreement, believing they had no other choice if they wanted to keep their jobs or the same shifts. Both said they had commitments and needed the job.

The Lamp’s brief report on Moran’s action and a warning to other ENs not to sign away that status resulted in a letter from Fisher, Cartwright and Berriman, lawyers and consultants, acting for Moran, demanding a retraction of the article in its entirety and an apology.

‘Should we not receive the undertaking by noon tomorrow [3 March], we are instructed to commence legal proceedings against your union without further notice on the basis of remedying the financial damage and loss of reputation caused to our client arising from your publication.’

Brett agrees that the word ‘retrenched’ would have been more accurate than ‘sacked’, even though both words mean loss of employment.

Moran reveals plans for more cuts
Unfortunately, Moran’s sensitivity has not taken the wind out of its cost-cutting plans. ENs at Moran facilities in Murwillumbah and Killarney Vale were informed they would be transferred from the position of EN to AIN.

In a letter to the NSWNA, Moran management described a restructure of the organisation ‘which will have a consequential affect upon the staffing structure, in particular employees at the facility who are employed as ENs’.

The nurses were told they would be ‘transferred from the position of EN to AIN from 20 March.’

At an NSWNA Branch meeting on 13 March, Murwillumbah Nursing Home members passed a resolution condemning the decision by Moran management to transfer ENs to the positions of AiN ‘under the guise of a restructure without genuine agreement.’

‘The restructure claim is an obvious furphy. Staffing levels would not change – the same staff with the same skills levels would be working same shifts … but with-out any further pay increases,’ said Brett.