Protection for Nambucca Valley Care nurses

Nurses at Nambucca Valley Care are also set to benefit from a new Union Collective Agreement that provides protection in the new hostile WorkChoices environment.

Based on the ACS template Agreement (see previous story), the UCA secures pay and conditions until September 2009.

The proposed agreement covers three facilities owned by Nambucca Valley Care: Autumn Lodge Nursing Home, Riverside Gardens Aged Care and Riverside Hostel.

NSWNA Branch President, Gwen Green, said management has been responsive to their ideas and this had made things a lot easier. ‘We look forward to working with them and appreciate their effort’, said Gwen, AiN.

According to NSWNA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda, management should be commended for working with their employees. ‘With the shortage of nurses in aged care, other employers will be under pressure to follow their good example,’ said Judith.

The Agreement preserves the majority of the nurses’ existing employment conditions and will deliver a minimum pay increase of 3.5% per year until it expires in 2009.

Members will also benefit from improvements in conditions including the introduction of nine weeks’ paid maternity leave and adoption leave, and an increased rate of accumulation for long service leave after 10 years’ service.

Sticking together gets results
Members at Nambucca Valley Care realised the value of sticking together and formed a new NSWNA Branch to give them a stronger voice in bargaining for their new agreement.

The Nambucca Valley Care branch consists of 39 members and seven branch executives.

‘We were worried about losing our conditions under WorkChoices. We were talking a lot among ourselves and it became clear that there was the need for a branch so we made things official,’ said Marcus Boehm, RN.

‘We want to work with management on all issues and establishing the branch was the best way to do this and to give our members the proper information,’ said Kit Harris, EEN.

Information and communication are important when negotiating an agreement with your employer. Talk to other nurses at your workplace about asking your employer to offer you a union agreement. Together, approach your employer with your request.

‘We were lucky that management recommended the ACS template agreement,’ said Kit.