Qld nurse and midwife pay and conditions – EB8 up-date
Published: 26 July 2012
Nurses and midwives vote for 3% annual payrise, $42 per week payrise for general ward nurses in first year
Public sector nurses and midwives across Queensland have voted to accept a new collective workplace agreement (EB8), which provides a three per cent annual pay rise and a raft of other improvements to allowances and working conditions over the next three years.
The result of the nurses and midwives EB8 ballot, which was counted today, is:
|Total ballot papers issued||36,977||100%|
|Total ballot papers returned||10,789||29%|
An in-principle agreement was finalised, between QNU and Queensland Health officials, at resumed negotiations following the March 24 State election. In mid-April the QNU State Council agreed to send it to a ballot of members. The previous workplace agreement – EB7 - expired on March 31.
Today’s vote outcome from nurses and midwives coincided with the following reported statement from Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, at a meeting in Capalaba today (Brisbane Times):
"If they (unions) wanted to save people's jobs they could have proposed that everybody, all 204,000 of us – I'm a public servant too – could have taken a pay freeze.
EB8 contains the items agreed with the previous government prior to the recent election campaign. These include:
- a three per cent or $30 per week, whichever is greater, annual pay rise;
- a three per cent annual rise for most allowances;
- better workloads management and the requirement to display the required nurse-to-patient ratios in each ward or unit;
- increased rural and remote incentive payments and the inclusion of Cooktown in the scheme;
- greater support for Nurse/Midwifery Unit Managers;
- advancement of the Enrolled Nurse Advanced Practice classification; and
- improved overtime arrangements for senior nurses and midwives who have to work during natural disasters.
Following the March 24 election Queensland Health agreed to the following extra items:
- to back-date the pay and allowance rises to 1 April 2012;
- a $500 one-off addition to the base pay of nurses & midwives, at the agreement’s end in 2015;
- a three per cent annual rise for the Professional Development Allowance;
- to increase, from 1 April 2013, the Sunday night-shift penalty rate from 20 to 25 per cent; and
- an extra pay point for advanced practice nurses and midwives.
The agreed payrise means a full-time nurse/midwife “working at the bedside” – RN/RM Grade 5 Top Pay Point - will receive an extra $42.00 (rounded off) per week, or more than $2000.00 extra per year, from 1 April 2012.
QNU secretary, Beth Mohle, said EB8 contains important improvements that will keep Queensland nursing and midwifery strong.
“Queensland nurses and midwives now lead the nation in so many ways and these pay and allowances increases will keep them in a strong position nationally.
“The strengthening and simplification of the workload management process is also a big step forward and this will be a major priority for QNU members and officials as we implement this new agreement. To be frank, if there is going to be any difficulties with Queensland Health in the months ahead it will probably be in this area, because the QNU is determined to protect nurses, midwives and patients from unsafe workloads. We are committed to reducing any red tape and ensuring there are no long, drawn out processes in getting unsafe workloads addressed.
“There are also important initiatives in this agreement, which give Nurse/Midwifery Unit Managers greater authority at the ward or unit level. This is vital to improving staff morale and patient outcomes. These frontline clinical managers know how things work and should work at the clinical interface. Providing them with more assistance and greater decision-making authority makes sense. This is another area we will continue to work on during the life of this new agreement.
“We have also secured some important improvements for rural and remote nurses and midwives. This work is not finished though. During the life of EB8 we will work with Queensland Health to develop agreed criteria for extending rural and remote incentives to other centres around the State, which are currently not included in the scheme.
“Finally, the QNU has consistently made it clear to government representatives, including the Health Minister, that it does not accept the idea that Queensland’s finances are in a mess. That hoary old political chestnut is what every incoming government tries on nowadays.
“For example, the QNU is not convinced a $65 billion debt against an annual budget of nearly $50 billion and a Gross State Product of more than $250 billion is the problem the government says it is. Our position on this has been confirmed in the last few days by documents the State Treasurer, Mr Nicholls, is using in international meetings and by independent assessors such as Deloittes.
“The QNU thanks the previous and current governments for the prompt finalisation of this new agreement. We expect EB8 to be implemented in full and we will campaign hard against any attempt to undermine safe nursing and midwifery for cost-saving reasons,” Ms Mohle said.
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