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Melton City Council MCH and immunisation nurses start industrial action

Melton City Council MCH and immunisation nurses start industrial action

Maternal and child health nurses and immunisation nurses, working in a local government area with Victoria’s second fastest population growth, start protected industrial action from today as part of their campaign to secure a fair wage rise and improved working conditions.

More than 50 Melton City Council nurses have started wearing red campaign t-shirts and will stop work to have discussions with new parents and members of the community to explain their dispute.

Maternal and child health nurses, the cornerstone of Victoria’s universal preventative health system, provide early assessment, identification and intervention for children and families. They also identify and refer vulnerable families at risk of family violence or distress due to financial, disability, mental health or new migrant issues.

Enterprise bargaining negotiations between the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) and the Council began in May 2022. The current EBA expired in mid 2022. The nurses’ last pay rise was in July 2021.

The council area’s population increased by 6709 people or 4.6 percent between 2020 and 2021, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. During this time Melton families welcome an estimated 49 new babies a week.

The nurses are seeking a three-year agreement with an annual four per cent wage rise and an additional week’s annual leave in line with the wider nursing profession and neighbouring councils. The Council is offering a 2.5 per cent per annum increase over three years.

ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said: ‘A fair wage rise and improved working conditions are the only way to retain experienced maternal and child health and immunisation nurses and attract additional nurses to meet the growing needs of 50 new babies and their families in the area.

‘Taking industrial action is always a last resort for nurses, however, Melton City Council’s mean-spirited wage offer disregards nurses’ challenging pandemic work and the rising cost of living and demonstrates it doesn’t have a nursing workforce retention or growth plan,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.

The nurses are encouraging new parents and members of the public to support the campaign by emailing the Melton City Council chief executive officer Roslyn Wai.