What we’re seeking in Campaign 08

Recognition and reward for increased responsibility

  • 5% per year pay and pay-related allowances increase for all nurses and midwives over a proposed four year Award.
  • Plus additional pay increases for certain classifications to recognise and reward experience and increased responsibility.
  • Increase employer superannuation contributions by 1% for each year of the new Award.
  • ENs with diploma or advanced diploma qualifications to have new higher pay rates. These courses are being offered by NSW TAFE from 2008.
  • Undergraduate students working as AiNs to have a new pay rate, higher than the current AiN rate.
  • Some allowances to be increased to keep pace with equivalent professionals: increase the team leader allowance payable in community settings; an allowance for nurses taking on ancillary fire warden duties; extend forensic allowance to all forensic units, not only those in Justice Health.
  • Return 100% of salary packaging savings to staff.

Some nursing classifications need realignment to match equivalent occupations and responsibilities:

  • A new higher RN 8 pay rate for all permanent nurses and midwives, matched to the new allied health professionals rate – recognising permanent nursing staff’s additional responsibilities and as a key retention initiative.
  • The CN/MS and CN/ME/N/ME pay review is still incomplete. The Association has called on the Department to make a better pay offer immediately. This claim is an ongoing claim agreed to as part of the 2005-2008 wages Award.
  • ENs who become RNs should start on the RN year 2 pay rate.
  • ‘Juniors’ should be paid at the adult rates of pay to recognise their responsibilities.

Recruitment and retention for safer workplaces

  • Increase night duty penalty rate to 25%.
  • A safe balance between permanent and casual/agency nurses.
  • Better incentives to encourage permanent nursing and midwifery positions. Part-time nurses and midwives who want to increase their regular hours and casuals who want to convert to permanent work should be helped, not hindered.
  • An Award provision to fill vacant positions within reasonable timeframes.
  • On-call allowance and overtime eligibility to be extended to more Nurse Managers to match other health managers’ entitlements.
  • Allow 12-hour shift rosters across all facilities, using the existing NSWNA guidelines.

More support for nurses and midwives

  • Increase the number of funded CN/ME positions to support trainee and developing nurses.
  • A stronger Award provision to ensure genuine consultation with nurses and midwives when workplace change occurs.
  • Permanent part-timers to be able to accrue 6 weeks’ annual leave at their part-time rate. This claim is to stop the deliberate rostering off of part-timers on public holidays by changing the Award provision to prevent misuse.
  • Improvements to the Time Off in Lieu of overtime system, so nurses and midwives have a genuine choice and are compensated for working the extra time, and NUMs have real authority to approve it.

It’s going to be a tough fight

Nurses and midwives have received good pay rises in recent years but it was achieved after a tough fight. In the last wages campaign of 2005, nurses and midwives were forced to call a statewide strike before an acceptable pay rise was achieved.

This time around, we also need to prepare to fight for real recognition and the pay and conditions that reflect our true value, according to NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes.

‘The NSW Government has announced it will offer NSW public sector workers 2.5% per year, saying this will “maintain real wage improvements”. But inflation is already pushing 3%, so this means the government is offering you a pay cut!

‘The government says any increases above 2.5% per year have to be “tied to productivity savings” or “employee-related reform measures”.

‘Nurses and midwives will not accept this bean-counting approach. We need to prepare to fight for real recognition and the pay and conditions that reflect our true value,’ said Brett.