LAUNCESTON General Hospital nurses and midwives will start industrial action over working conditions today.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Union last week rejected an amended pay offer from the state government, saying it did not address a lack of grade 4 nurses.
State secretary Neroli Ellis said budget cuts had seen a decline in the more experienced nurses, who had greater managerial responsibility.
Mrs Ellis said about 130 Launceston nurses voted yesterday to start ``working to rule'' and claiming all their entitlements from midday today.
``So, by nurses now claiming all their entitlements, the award entitlements they currently don't claim - like missed meal breaks, things like overtime that's worked without being paid, and other allowances that they just don't claim now - it will show the government the price of the nurses' goodwill, since it's been removed,'' Mrs Ellis said.
``I think one week of claiming entitlements would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.''
Nurses in Devonport, Burnie and Hobart will vote on industrial action today and tomorrow.
Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne said she was pleased nurses had ensured action would not affect patient care.
``I think we are further down towards this EBA than I had anticipated at this stage, and I am hopeful that there will be a resolution,'' Ms O'Byrne said.