ANMF (Vic Branch) works tirelessly to improve members’ wages and conditions and their ability to provide high quality care to patients, residents and clients.
With more than 97,000 members, the Branch is the largest in Australia. This strong and unified membership is what has enabled us to make a real difference to nursing and midwifery in Victoria. Nurse/midwife-to-patient ratios, qualification allowances, ADOs, pay rises, professional development leave, study leave, maternity leave, no-lift policies, improved occupational health and safety standards, the Registered Undergraduate Student of Nursing/Midwifery (RUSON/M) employment models and night duty allowances are just some of the conditions that have been achieved because members have worked together.
The Branch also looks after individual members by providing industrial, professional, occupational health and safety (OHS) and legal0Conditions apply advice, support and representation as well as a range of exclusive benefits – including three new benefits this year: holiday accommodation, Union Shopper and a much-expanded online CPD offering.
Below is a brief summary of the day-to-day Branch business for 2022. Understandably, the past year has presented extraordinary challenges – from the code brown to the devastating spring floods, disruptive and uncertain events have continued to dominate all our lives.
With the summer COVID-19 surge and subsequent code brown in January, Branch staff once again reverted to working remotely for most of the first quarter of the year. This meant that member meetings were down on typical numbers, while member enquiries categorised as disaster-related (in this case, the COVID surge allowance) were almost double the next most common, which were queries about pay, employment and leave.
On 2 February, following an online meeting of ANMF Job Reps with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to discuss the COVID outbreak and pressure on health services, the government extended the per shift COVID surge allowance until 31 March.
- Member enquiries: 6461
- Disciplinary cases opened: 165
- Legal referrals: 129
- Member meetings conducted: 338 (compared with 524 in Q1 2021)
- Bargaining0Since the Branch’s new case management system went live in August 2021: aged care (120), local government (29), other – including Monash IVF, Maryvale Private, AHPRA, Genesis Cancer Care and Malvern Private (76).
- Approximately 30 per cent of the state’s 621 private aged care facilities covered by in-principle or approved EAs
With the second quarter of the year bringing a new federal government and long-delayed action on aged care, Branch staff and members had reason for hope. But COVID-19 case numbers continued to keep us all on high alert.
With the COVID surge support allowance ending on 31 March 2022, Branch staff spent much of the second quarter pursuing local agreements with individual employers to ensure members still required to work in extended team models were paid an additional stipend.
The annual Delegates Conference returned to an in-person format in June, but with a twist: instead of being held in one venue, it was held simultaneously over 11 satellite venues across the state.
- Member enquiries: 5895
- Disciplinary cases opened: 178
- Legal referrals: 162
- Member meetings conducted: 589
- Bargaining: 17 new bargaining matters opened
- Over 35 per cent of the state’s 621 private aged care facilities covered by in-principle or approved EAs
The Branch negotiated with the Department of Health for the winter retention and surge payment of up to $3000 for public sector employees, paid in two instalments: 15 August and 30 September. ANMF also wrote to every private health service seeking that they replicate the Andrews Government’s announcement. ANMF agrees private nurses and midwives should have received surge/retention payments. Some private nurses, caring for COVID patients, did eventually receive a surge allowance, which was welcome. Some private employers continue to pay retention allowances. Private aged care nurses and personal care workers have received a series of payments from the Federal Government.
Branch Council awarded more than $1.3 million to members in course fee grants – a significant increase on the $740,000 awarded to members in 2020–2021 fee grants round.
We also launched the Safe Haven website in September to provide information and resources for nurses, midwives and personal care workers experiencing family violence, as well as information for their colleagues and managers. This significant piece of work was a recommendation of the You can’t swim if there is a weight dragging you down: report into family violence against Australian nurses, midwives and carers research report based on the Health, Wellbeing and Relationships membership survey in 2019.
- Member enquiries: 5992
- Disciplinary cases opened: 226 (203 cases closed)
- Legal referrals: 151
- Member meetings conducted: 589
- Bargaining matters: 8 new matters opened
- Over 40 per cent of the states’ 621 private aged care facilities covered by in-principle or approved EAs.
With the end of the year in sight, the Branch began looking ahead. Work began on a significant project that aims to make rostering more adaptable to the needs of nurses and midwives, and the state election meant discussions with the government to secure election commitments for nurses, midwives and carers.
With the outcome of the state election vital to ensuring ongoing improvements to ratios, among other essential work, the Branch looks forward to working productively once again with the Andrews Labor Government.
While the full Q4 figure were not available at the time of writing, in October the Branch saw the following:
- Member enquiries: 1965
- Disciplinary cases opened: 82 (88 cases closed)
- Legal referrals: 38
- Member meetings conducted: 348
- Bargaining matters: 6 new matters opened
- Over half per cent of the states’ 621 private aged care facilities covered by in-principle or approved EAs.