Often during the life of an enterprise agreement, members will suggest improvements.
These suggestions will come in via email, social media comments or sometimes even at the final members’ meeting to approve the outcome. Some are wishful thinking, but others would make a significant, practical difference to nurses’, midwives’ and carers’ working lives.
The problem? They are often too late and need to go through a more transparent and democratic process.
Under the Fair Work laws these ideas are called ‘new claims’ and ANMF cannot act upon them after an agreement is finalised. If it is not part of our original log of claims, or ‘wish list’, provided to the employer at the start of the negotiations, we can’t ask for it.
To develop a log of claims for a group of members – whether you are a private hospital or a private aged care facility – ANMF uses the public sector nurses and midwives agreement as the basis of your claims and negotiations. That’s how we have achieved pay parity between the public sector and the private acute hospitals. It’s harder in private aged care because we must negotiate small workplace by small workplace.
We will also use previous claims not yet achieved. We will look at workplace disputes and whether new wording in your agreement could resolve or prevent the issue.
Consultation with members also informs the log of claims – which is why it is important to attend member meetings called by your Organiser.
A big part of the development of a log of claims is the work of members with their Job Reps and Health and Safety Reps though the democratic Annual Delegates Conference process.
For almost 30 years (the first one was in 1993), Job Reps and Health and Safety Reps from across Victoria have attended the Annual Delegates Conference. It is held in June each year. Reps submit resolutions, on behalf of the members they represent, for debate at the conference. If the majority of reps vote in favour of a motion, it will become a resolution that will guide ANMF’s policy direction and negotiations with employers, health services and governments.
Early in the new year all ANMF Job Reps and HSRs will receive information via email* about registering for the Annual Delegates Conference (30 June and 1 July 2022). Reps will also receive information about how to develop and submit a motion to the conference. Don’t forget that you, and a seconder (another rep), will need to attend the conference to move and speak to your motion.
So now is the time for members and reps to get together, talk about what you would like to change or improve and what action is needed.
An example of a resolution that passed at the 2019 conference is: ‘That this conference request that the ANMF (Vic Branch) include in the next public sector EBA log of claims pro rata long service leave at seven years.’
ANMF included this request in the comprehensive 2020–24 public sector EBA log of claims. We successfully negotiated earlier access to long service leave for all enrolled nurses, and full- and part-time registered nurses and midwives in the 2020–24 public sector agreement. The entitlement is being phased in from 2021.
By 2023 access will be available at seven years instead of 10.
It is currently nine years.
The process to submit a motion to the 2022 Annual Delegates Conference will open soon. I have focussed on motions that would come under the broad industrial heading (wages, conditions and entitlements) or occupational health and safety that would contribute to a log of claims. They can also be related to nurse, midwife, personal care worker issues (all sectors); professional, educational, research; the Branch; or social justice.
If you have an idea that you would like to see ANMF and its members try to secure in the next general or mental health public sector agreements, the private acute sector or another sector (the private aged care enterprise agreement round is underway) – start talking with your colleagues. If your idea is supported at the delegates conference, we can start working together to make it happen in the next round of enterprise bargaining.