Not happy Ramsay

Australia’s largest private hospital employer, Ramsay, has yet to complete a fair agreement with the NSWNA.

Healthe and Healthscope have negotiated strong agreements that lock in payrises and improvements in conditions for their nurses.

Healthe and Healthscope are to be congratulated, said NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda.

In contrast, Australia’s largest private hospital employer, Ramsay, has failed to negotiate a fair agreement with the NSWNA.

Ramsay offered nurses an inferior pay offer to Healthe and Healthscope and rejected nearly all of the Association’s other claims. ‘They have unilaterally paid nurses a 3% payrise and are holding off on the other issues,’ said Judith.

‘The NSWNA has gone to extensive effort to negotiate a fair agreement with Ramsay. Ramsay has repeatedly put ridiculous offers on the table – offers that are outrageously unacceptable to the NSWNA and members.

‘This is a very transparent tactic by Ramsay to save money by stalling,’ said Judith.

‘As a result, nurses working for Ramsay have been left behind in pay and conditions. Ramsay members are telling the Union they see this as a mark that their employer does not respect or recognise the hard work they do.’

Ramsay nurses are worried and disappointed

Members at Port Macquarie Private Hospital are very agitated, worried and disappointed that Ramsay has refused to negotiate a fair agreement, said Wendy Jones, Branch Secretary at Port Macquarie Private Hospital.

‘Nurses at Ramsay Private Hospitals are being left behind in pay and conditions, compared to nurses at other private hospitals. Members have strongly expressed their concerns and Ramsay has been unresponsive and non communicative,’ said Wendy.

‘People are starting to talk about leaving. Why would you stay when nurses at the public hospital across town are being paid more and their conditions are better? Ramsay had better come to the bargaining table with a fair offer or they are going to lose staff.’

Ramsay offer takes us backwards

Ramsay nurses are not happy with their employer, said Debbie McDonald, RN and Branch Secretary at Berkeley Vale Private Hospital.

‘Ramsay has not put an acceptable offer on the table and we still don’t have a new workplace agreement.

‘We are now behind Healthe and Healthscope nurses, who have new agreements. What Ramsay has offered is far below what has been offered by Healthe and Healthscope. We deserve to be recognised,’ said Debbie.

‘Members want to close the gap in parity with public health sector nurses. The current Ramsay offer falls short by a long way.’

New agreements at Healthe, Healthscope vs Ramsay offer

The following table compares pay and conditions under the new Healthe and Healthscope agreements, against the Ramsay offer at the time of printing.

Our Claim Healthe Care new Agreement Healthscope new Agreement Ramsay offer
New Continuing Education Allowance for achieving post-registration qualifications. $23 to $57 pw $32 to $59 pw $15 pw
Increase on call allowance. On call 10 hrs min. – $21.20
On RDO – $38.16
On call – $20 min.;
On RDO – $39.51
On call 24 hrs – $25.20
On RDO – $50
Increase in charge of shift allowance. $22.28 $22.26 $21.42
Increase night shift penalty rate to 25%. 17.5% from 2010; 6
20% from 2011
(open to further discussion)
Better study & professional development leave provisions. 4 4 No response
Improved paid parental leave. 4 4 Under consideration
Better recognition of skills used by ENs 4 Review by April 2009 Support a diploma
EN entry point
Extra 3.8% to recognise experienced nurses.  4
(for EENs)
Review for ENs
by April 2009
10 hour minimum break between shifts. 4 6 6
Hourly pay rate RN/RM Yr 8. ’09: $33.74  ’10:$35.09 ’09: $33.71 ’10: $35.02 ’09: $33.41 ’10:$?
Hourly pay rate Endorsed EN Thereafter. ’09:$24.41 ’10:$25.39 ’09: $23.49 ’10: $24.41  ’09: $23.29 ’10:$?

Chronology of negotiations

Since July 2008, the NSWNA has been trying to negotiate a fair workplace agreement with Ramsay – but Ramsay has not come to the party. Here’s what has happened so far:

  • 24 July 2008 – First meeting between Ramsay and NSWNA where it was agreed we would negotiate a new wages and conditions agreement.
  • 3 September 2008 – First scheduled meeting where we set an aim of reaching agreement in early November 2008.
  • Four scheduled meetings postponed or cancelled by Ramsay.
  • 21 November 2008 – The NSWNA asks Ramsay for a written offer that can be given to nurses for their consideration.
  • 3 December 2008 – Ramsay advises the Association it is unlikely we will reach an agreement for the time being.

More private hospital campaign news

Campaigns for new agreements are also happening at:

  • St Vincent’s Darlinghurst and Mater Crows Nest
  • St Vincent’s Lismore
  • Hawkesbury District Health Service and St Vincent’s Bathurst Metropolitan Rehab
  • St Lukes
  • Calvery Riverina
  • Sydney Adventist Hospital.

If you don’t have a current agreement guaranteeing your pay rises and conditions improvements, get together with your colleagues and talk to NSWNA about how to get started on a list of claims.