Spirited campaign delivers 14% pay rise and top conditions

On top of a very good pay rise, we have also won excellent conditions and entitlements that will enhance the ability of nurses to balance family and work commitments, provide recognition of nurses` skills and education and increase protection against unfair treatment at work.

Nurses have won a 14% pay rise in the face of total opposition from the Carr State government to any increase of more than 12%.
The Industrial Relations Commission has increased the pay nurses will receive between now and 2008 in a binding decision issued on 20 May.

The Commission has fast tracked the first pay rise so it is immediately back paid to January 2005, with the next increase to take place this July as opposed to January next year.
The pay increases will be:

  • 3% from 1 January 2005 (back pay to be paid)
  • a further 3% from 1 July 2005
  • a further 4% from 1 July 2006
  • a further 4% from 1 July 2007.

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes says the pay result, combined with the raft of excellent conditions won in the new agreement, is a very good outcome for nurses after a hard-fought campaign.

‘This is a substantial increase on the government’s original offer. This wage rise means that between 2000 and 2007 nurses will have received a 39.5% increase in base pay.’

‘Some of the improvements in conditions include a $15 per-week base pay increase for ENs with medication endorsement, pay reviews for CNSs, CNEs and NEs to be done in 2005-06 and funding of 10-hour night shifts in 60 more hospitals, starting in 2006. There is also a significant increase in paid maternity leave from 9 to 14 weeks and one week’s paid paternity leave, and the new award will guarantee study leave and union delegates’ recognition and training.

‘This result is very significant when seen in a wider political context where the federal government is preparing to attack workers’ award conditions and rights.’

Brett said the main claim not achieved in this campaign is an increase to night duty penalty payments, which the Government and NSW Health refused to negotiate on.

‘The NSWNA will campaign to achieve a negotiated improvement or running a test case in the Commission at the end of this wages agreement 2008.

‘NSW nurses have done well to improve the standing of the nursing profession with better pay and more family friendly conditions. We now have defend these gains from being clawed back by the Howard government.’

Commitment to fund 10-hour night shifts for 60 more facilities
The government has committed to fund 10-hour night shifts at 60 more facilities from 2006. This condition will help nurses to better plan their lives around shift work.

Midwives recognised in award
Midwives will be now specifically recognised in the award.

More union rights, more protection
For the first time, we have an award clause that protects union delegates and guarantees their right to spend time on union business and education during work time.

Recognition for ENs
ENs who undertake additional education and responsibility for administering medication receive recognition through extra pay.

Groundbreaking maternity leave
Paid maternity and adoption leave will increase from 9 to 14 weeks and one week’s paternity leave will be introduced.

Review of pay rates
There will be a review of the CNE, NE, CNS and AIN undergraduate student classifications. The reviews will enable the NSWNA to pursue higher pay for these classifications.

What we’ve won in pay

  • 3% from 1 January 2005
  • Further 3% from 1 July 2005
  • Further 4% from 1 July 2006
  • Further 4% from 1 July 2007

This year’s 3% pay rise is to be back paid to 1 January, giving an RN year 8 over $800 in lump sum back pay for the first increase.

Having your say on the conditions

  • Branches now need to meet to vote
  • The vote is to accept the offer on improved conditions
  • The pay increase has already been determined in a binding decision by Industrial Commission. There is no vote on this

For more information visit the Association website at www.nswnurses.asn.au

Your vote is important
Branch secretaries will receive by email and post an information and voting instructions kit. It will be also posted on the NSWNA website.

All NSWNA branches need to hold a meeting by close of business Thursday, 9 June, to endorse the conditions and entitlements we have fought so hard for during the campaign.

To gain these conditions and benefits, members need to vote ‘yes’ to the award – even if there are individual conditions not relevant to you. It’s the whole package that members will be voting for – ‘no’ to one condition means no to all.