1. Fair Work Australia Conciliation Proceedings
Conciliation proceedings before Commissioner Gooley continued on Monday 2, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 April. These proceedings have been adjourned to the week commencing Monday 16 April when the Commissioner is next available.
ANF is seeking to have the general nurses' outcome apply to mental health together with specific mental health issues relating to staffing allocation, community workload management and ensuring nursing positions are preserved in mental health.
VHIA advised that a meeting was scheduled with its members on Wednesday 11 April.
Government representativesalso advised the parties on Thursday 5 April that a meeting is scheduled with senior government representatives and VHIA on Monday 16 April to discuss the Mental Health EBA, and that the Government representatives and VHIA will be available to re-convene on Tuesday 17 April.
The ANF has continued to work on negotiating documents and reaching a final position in order that an offer will be forthcoming after the government meeting.
These documents relate to:
- Additional nursing EFT and the placement of that EFT in bed based mental health services.
- A community workload management tool that adequately represents the role and workload of all team members along with the scope of activities to be included in the definition of contact hours.
- Community mental health skill mix.
- An enrolled nurse structure that, whilst being specific to mental health, is consistent with the public sector general nurses' agreement outcome.
- Classification claims for ECT Nurse Co-ordinator, and registered nurses employed in triage, dual diagnosis, ECATT and CATT, PARC and MHNIP programs.
- Classification and EFT claim for Psychiatric Consultation Liaison Nurses.
- Additional increment for Grade 5 nurses.
- A designated Nurse Unit Manager in each ward/unit.
- Amendments to clauses in the current mental health agreement to improve conditions relating to meal breaks, CATT on-call uninterrupted break, letter of appointment, years of experience, re-entry to practice, improved parental leave, improved backfilling requirements, payslip information, public holidays, annual leave, personal leave.
- Claims relating to the general nurses' outcome including the continuing professional development allowance, night duty allowance, on-call allowance, standardization of RN/EN conditions.
The ANF remains committed to ensuring mental health resources for staffing are targeted to maintaining and improving safe levels of staffing with regulated and qualified nurses caring for vulnerable members of the community requiring mental health support. The mental health sector equally deserves protection form the introduction of unregulated workers as has been achieved elsewhere in the public health system.
2. ANF Members Meeting - Thursday 19 April 2012
Whilst the ANF is hopeful a Government offer will follow from the meeting of Government and VHIA officials next week, members will be aware that negotiations for a mental health agreement have been occurring since September 2011. The ANF will not be party to a prolonged conciliation process that serves to disadvantage members and result in a delayed wages and conditions outcome for mental health members.
The ANF will update members following next week's proceedings in FWA about all matters including the threat to nursing positions and nursing work.
Thursday 19 April 2012 at 3.30 pm
ANF HouseCarson Conference Centre, Level 7, 540 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
All members are encouraged to attend this important meeting and confirm attendance at www.tiny.cc/hsxmcw by calling Elaine Toma on 9275 9333.
Members must provide proof of their ANF membership to be admitted to the meeting. Please bring your membership card.
3. Further update on HACSU proceedings in FWA
On Wednesday 4 April a Fair Work Australia Full Bench issued an interim order in favour of HACSU's application to stop the HSUeast enterprise agreement covering all allied health staff in all public health facilities going to a vote.
The effect of this decision is that there will be proceedings in FWA as to which allied health staff are covered by the HSUeast Agreement and which are covered by the mental health agreement.
The ANF will continue to push for a timely and acceptable wages and conditions outcome and ensure mental health nurses are not out of step with their colleagues under the general nurses' agreement.
4. Protected Industrial Action
ANF members are encouraged to continue protected industrial action in those workplaces where the protected action ballot was successful.
As stated above, the ANF is keen to continue to utilise the conciliation process with Commissioner Gooley to finalise a mental health agreement. For this reason we have not recommended escalating industrial action at this stage. Members will be updated on the progress of negotiations at the meeting on 19 April.
HACSU members have notified employers of an increase in industrial action with 2 hour work stoppages twice a day in designated workplaces commencing on Tuesday 10 April.
To assist ANF members in determining how best to manage client care in circumstances when another union is taking industrial action please find attached ANF "Guidelines for ANF (Vic Branch ) Members In the Event of Industrial Action By Other Health Unions".
Members employed at Forensicare are advised that at the outset of the conciliation process before Commissioner Gooley, the Government, VHIA, HACSU and ANF all agreed to focus on Forensicare once there was greater clarity from the finalisation of the public sector Mental Health agreement.
Members are also advised that Commissioner Gooley has been contacted by the Victorian Psychologists Association (HSU No. 4 Branch ) and the ANF understands representatives will be present at the negotiating table as parties were notified on Thursday 5 April that the VPA is the bargaining agent for psychologists working at Forensicare.