An imposed pay increase – with no improvement in ratios
The NSW Government’s wages laws continue to deny any real role for the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) in determining the appropriateness of our pay or the merits of ratios, nor do they allow any real bargaining to occur.
Prior to these draconian laws, the NSWNMA had the capacity to argue special cases before the IRC, which lead to significant improvements in wages and conditions.
Since 2011, the Government, as the employer, has removed our rights to go to the independent umpire and has outlawed any increase above 2.27% without trading off hard-fought-for conditions.
As foreshadowed in the last circular, after an application by the Ministry of Health, the IRC this week formally varied the Public Health System Nurses’ and Midwives’ Award to increase wages and salary-related allowances by 2.27%, from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2014*.
On 8 July, the IRC will hear an application by the NSW Government to include a renewed ‘No Extra Claims’ clause into the Award.
This is nothing more than a clumsy and futile attempt to silence us from advocating for safe patient care and fairness in the workplace.
Regardless of the outcome of the ‘No Extra Claims’ debate, the Association’s position remains unchanged:
“We will continue to actively campaign for safe patient care and a well‐resourced and equitable Public Health System.”
What happens next?
The recent survey of members commissioned by the Association indicates that our appetite for improved and extended ratios remains unabated.
Despite the Government’s approach, the fight for ratios continues and will require a sustained and strategic effort from all of us.
At the same time, we are up against hostile Governments, at the State and Federal levels, that seem intent on destroying both our Public Health System and Medicare. In other words, equitable and affordable universal health care is now under threat, as are public hospitals across the state.
We need to therefore do what nurses and midwives do best – multitask. Ensuring safe patient care requires two outcomes: improved and extended ratios; and a stable and viable Public Health System, motivated by quality rather than profit.
Not happy? Tell the Government
Branches are invited to call a Branch meeting to discuss and vote on the following resolution. Your Branch’s message will be delivered to the Government by your delegates at the upcoming NSWNMA Annual Conference:
“This Branch expresses anger that the NSW Government has once again used its unjust laws and refused to listen to the call from nurses and midwives across the state to put patient safety first.
We further note they have forced upon us an inadequate 2.27% increase. We condemn the actions of this Government, its outlawing of genuine Award negotiations and the removal of the independent umpire’s powers.
NSW nurses and midwives put the Baird Government on notice: we will continue to fight for patient safety, fair industrial laws and a vibrant and equitable public health system in NSW.”
Ratios and defending the Public Health System will be a long and hard fight – but nurses have a record of doing both: we’ve done it before – we can do it again.
For more information, contact your Branch Official or Organiser or go to www.nswnma.asn.au
*0.25% has also been added to superannuation to comply with superannuation law.
Download this circular: 2014-109 – PHS 2014 – Tell The Government Thanks But No Thanks
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