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Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs
Industrial umpire to resolve nurses' pay
10/01/2005 7:00 PM
The State Government will ask the industrial umpire to settle the pay and conditions for nurses after they rejected a recommendation made by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
Health Minister Jim McGinty said the Government had no choice but to seek formal arbitration in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission later this year after the State’s 11,300 nurses voted to knock back a 14.7 per cent pay rise and improved conditions.
The Government had asked all nurses to vote on the commission’s recommendations via a ballot. A total of 6,237 votes were received, with nurses voting two to one against the deal.
“It was important that we sought the view of all nurses and that is why we conducted the ballot,” Mr McGinty said.
“We respect the decision made by nurses but this was the best and final offer that the Government could support.
“After 10 months of negotiating, we are no closer to reaching an agreement, so we have no option but to let the independent umpire decide what is fair.”
The pay deal recommended by the commission would have granted nurses a 14.7 per cent pay rise over three years and included six months of back pay.
“Nurses would have received pay increases of between $4,769 and $13,781 to ensure they were among the best-paid nurses in the nation,” the Minister said.
The offer also included provisions to regulate workloads for nurses, increased shift allowances and more leave entitlements.
Commission Deputy President Brendan McCarthy said he considered the offer to be ‘fair to nurses and reasonable and affordable for the Government’.
The Australian Nursing Federation is seeking a 15 per cent pay rise and extra conditions including:
a $2,000 retention bonus after two years’ service;
a five per cent per year qualification allowance;
on-call allowance of $7.50 per hour;
paid car parking for all nurses; and
airfares paid for families of rural nurses.
“The Government has been negotiating in good faith but some of the ANF’s claims are simply untenable,” Mr McGinty said.
Minister's office: 9220 5000