The agreement is the last to be finalised in the current round of public sector nurses enterprise agreements which include general, aged care and community health nurses (finalised 25 October), Royal District Nursing Service nurses (finalised Tuesday 13 November) and mental health nurses (finalised 16 November).
Australian Red Cross Blood Service nurses voted last week to take lawful industrial action from Tuesday 20 November in a bid to resolve a stalemate in their enterprise bargaining negotiations. There are almost 250 Australian Red Cross Blood Service nurses who ensure the health and safety of clients who donate blood and blood products in centres and mobile units across Victoria.
Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said: "The agreement is a victory for Australian Red Cross Blood Service nurses and marks the end of a very long and very intense enterprise bargaining period for the ANF and its public sector members.
"Australian Red Cross Blood Service nurses were not only about to take industrial action to improve conditions but also to protect existing hard won entitlements. Nurses are relieved that the dispute has been resolved without having to implement industrial action which may have caused disruptions and delays to this important blood and blood product collection service."
The new four-year agreement includes:
- the new general public sector rates of increases from 3.9 per to 6.1 per cent per annum
- maintenance of senior positions and the integrity of the nursing career structure
- common salaries for nurse unit managers regardless of whether they work in metropolitan or regional Victoria
- improved maternity/paternity leave
- maintenance of portability of service for nurses who change jobs from the public health sector to the Australian Red Cross Blood service.