mental health nurse members this afternoon voted to accept the new Agreement at
a statewide meeting at the Carson Conference Centre, ANF House. The
in-principle agreement was reached on Thursday 12 July through negotiations in
Fair Work Australia and with the assistance of Commissioner Gooley.
ANF (Vic Branch) is delighted the
settlement so closely mirrors relevant sections of the public sector nurses and
midwives Agreement, extending the benefits of that agreement to mental health
nurses with additional improvements specific to mental health.
has been representing public sector mental health nurses in negotiations with
HACSU, VHIA and Baillieu Government representatives since September 2011 and
with the assistance of FWA and Commissioner Gooley since 27 March 2012. ANF
attended the 25 conciliation conferences in the lead up to the settlement.
mental health nurse members have been taking protected industrial action in 13
mental health facilities since 12 November 2011 as part of their campaign for
safe mental health nursing levels in Victorian public hospitals, safe workload
management measures in community mental health nursing and improved wages. This
industrial action can cease now members have endorsed the settlement of the
2011- 2016 Mental Health Agreement.
Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) Acting Secretary Paul Gilbert said: "We
are delighted that public sector mental health nurses will now receive a
similar outcome to nurses and midwives working in public sector hospitals and
community health centres, including improvements to wages, workloads and
of this outcome Victoria's mental health nurses are more able to provide high
quality nursing care to their patients and clients. Unfortunately this process
has again taken too long and again shows the Baillieu Government's rhetoric on
improving mental health services does not match its actions." he said.
ANF said it was critical the Baillieu Government's agenda to replace qualified
mental health nurses with unqualified staff and reduce staffing levels through
unlimited short shifts was defeated.
the Baillieu Government from cutting the number of qualified nurses in mental
health was critical. More highly qualified mental health nurses results in
better mental health care," Mr Gilbert said.
gains include an annual percentage wage increase, improvements to on-call and
night-duty allowances and the introduction of the substantial professional
public sector nurses and midwives, mental health nurses have secured the new
annual allowance to assist with their professional development obligations for
registration renewal. The first pro rata allowance to be paid to all mental
health nurses will be $1000 and then $900 in subsequent years," Mr Gilbert
Key gains for public sector mental
health nurses in the Agreement which will expire on 31 March 2016 include:
- 2.5% annual wage increases over 4 years until March
2015 with the first instalment back paid to 31 March 2012 and in line with
the public sector nurses and midwives agreement, a Continuing Professional
Development Allowance of $1000 in the first year, and in 2013 and each
year thereafter, an annual Continuing Professional Development Allowance
of $900, payable in two instalments of $450 on the first full pay period
after 31 March and 30 September each year.
- Mental health enrolled nurses will also be reclassified
under the new career structure.
- Additional nursing positions are to be allocated over
the life of the Agreement to assist in improving workloads and providing
better mental health care for Victorians.
- Improvements to Community Workload Management through
implementation of the Caseload Management Standard.
- As with the public sector nurses and midwives
agreement, community health centres excluded from the Single Interest
Employment Authorization will now be included by a Multi-Employer
Agreement. These workplaces are Ballarat Community Health Centre,
Grampians Community Health Centre and Inner South Community Health
(Vic Branch) would like to thank the community for their support for mental
health nurses, particularly those who signed the online petition and voiced
their support through the Respect Our Work Facebook page and website.
protected industrial action is now to cease as of today.