Treasurer meets with unions over wage negotiations for nurses and midwives

Treasurer Peter Gutwein
Treasurer Peter Gutwein

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmania branch has expressed concerns over the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives, if the state government does not revise a decision to maintain a 2 per cent wage cap.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein met with unions on Thursday, in relation to negotiations for the Nurses and Midwives Agreement 2018. 

Mr Gutwein said the meeting was an opportunity to provide details and an explanation of the government’s wage negotiation parameters.

These parameters consist of: 

  • Salary and existing salary-related allowances: Increases of up to 2 per cent per annum of total remuneration representing prospective annual increases
  • Non-salary components: flexibility to negotiate increases to non-salary related components by identification and offset against efficiencies and productivities
  • Existing expense, related allowances: increase by established mechanisms in award
  • Employment arrangements: prepared to introduce changes to policies and guidelines involving employment arrangements, including recruitment, appointment and review of fixed-term. Career progression pathways and resourcing models will also be examined for nursing and midwives
  • Period of agreements: three years, but will consider up to five years

“In addition, it was agreed for the secretary of the Department of Health and union officials to meet in relation to aggression and violence against nurses and also undertake action to ensure safer working environments,” Mr Gutwein said.

This meeting will occur on August 10. 

“I look forward to and encourage continued genuine negotiations. In particular, the positive progress on some components of the total package for nurses,” Mr Gutwein added. 

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However ANMF Tasmanian branch secretary Emily Shepherd said if the wage cap remained, Tasmanian public sector nurses and midwives could be the lowest paid in the country by 2019. 

“The minister continually reassures us that he is extremely appreciative of the hard work that our nurses, midwives and care workers across the public sector do for our community,” she said.

“However, the state government’s continued 2 per cent wages policy does not reflect this sentiment and will risk the future of the nursing and midwifery professions in Tasmania.”

Ms Shepherd said with an ageing workforce, Tasmania needed to be doing all it could to recognise and retain current nurses and midwives and to be competitive in recruiting. 

“This is and will become increasingly difficult when Tasmanian nurses and midwives receive a 2 per cent wage increase for the next three years, when all other states and territories have had increases up to 9 per cent over the last three years and their base salaries are up to $10,000 higher.”

Ms Shepherd said ANMF members would be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the government’s current offer. 

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