Industrial action to begin: ANMF

Nurses at the Launceston General Hospital will stop doing a range of clerical tasks and begin claiming usually unclaimed overtime on Friday, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation says. 

After meetings state-wide this week, ANMF members unanimously resolved to commence an industrial campaign. ANMF state secretary Neroli Ellis on Wednesday said action was agreed to after feedback was sought from members on the Enterprise Agreement negotiations. She said nurses would likely begin distributing information to the public about the situation.

“Unfortunately the government representatives have agreed to commence discussions over key elements of the claim, the review of the career structure, in August but the first negotiation was only held last week,” Mrs Ellis said. 

“This delay has seriously impacted on the ability to negotiate and nurses and midwives are disappointed at the lack of respect shown while nursing shortages continue to increase affecting patient care.”

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said a formal offer, including a two per cent increase for three years, was sent to the ANMF on Wednesday. 

“The Hodgman Liberal Government has been negotiating with the ANMF in good faith, within our well-known two per cent wages policy, so it’s extremely disappointing that the union is taking industrial action in the lead up to one of the busiest times of the year,” Mr Ferguson said. 

Mrs Ellis said a two per cent pay rise was not conducive to being able to recruit nurses in Tasmania. She said negotiations will continue next week.  

She said the government on Thursday maintained that the majority of the ANMF’s claim was rejected. Mr Ferguson said the ANMF log of claims would cost $80 million above the government’s wages policy. He said the government was “committed to working with the ANMF to achieve a fair and affordable wage outcome”.

“I urge the ANMF to seriously consider the government’s offer ... before taking industrial action,” he said.