TASMANIAN nurses will next week meet to discuss options for industrial action after yesterday rejecting an amended government offer for a new pay deal.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Foundation last week rejected the government's initial offer over unacceptable working conditions, saying if they did not receive an acceptable offer by October 18 nurses would take industrial action.
ANMF state secretary Neroli Ellis said yesterday the amended offer was much- improved, but the government's failure to address concerns around a lack of grade 4 nurses remained a key issue.
Mrs Ellis said the budget cuts had seen a decrease in the more experienced nurses, who had more managerial responsibility.
"Many of the reductions in conditions have been rescinded in this amended offer, which is obviously welcomed, however, the key issue for nurses has always been about the skill mix and patient care component of the agreement," Mrs Ellis said.
"Grade 4 nurses have been reduced from 25 per cent to around 5 and 10 per cent on each area ... and the junior base grade nurses are being relied upon to manage wards after hours, which is just unsafe."
Mrs Ellis said nurses would begin emergency meetings from Monday.
Health Department workplace relations and safety director Matthew Double said he was disappointed by the union's decision.
"We are hopeful that the ANMF will recognise that we have in good faith agreed to what they requested last week which delivers no reduction in leave or shift-length for nurses," Mr Double said.
"The union leadership is now asking for significant additional concessions that far exceed what has already been agreed to by other health workers."
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