Melton City Council maternal and child health nurses and immunisation nurses started taking protected industrial action in late March as part of their campaign to secure a fair wage rise and improved working conditions.
ANMF members are wearing red campaign t-shirts and stopping work to have discussions with new parents and members of the community to explain their dispute.
Enterprise bargaining negotiations between the ANMF and the Council began in May 2022. The current EBA expired in mid-2022. The nurses’ last pay rise was in July 2021.
The nurses are seeking a three-year agreement with an annual four per cent wage rise and an additional week of 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.
The local government area has Victoria’s second fastest population growth. Its 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.
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 needs of this rapidly growing community.
‘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.’
Negotiations between the parties resumed on 30 March.
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MCH negotiations around the state
Macedon Ranges Shire nurses
Macedon Ranges Shire MCH nurses and immunisation nurses have secured an improved wages offer from their employer after taking protected industrial action since December 2022.
The proposed EBA includes annual wage increases of 3 per cent (back paid), 3.5 per cent, 3 per cent or 100 per cent rate cap whichever is the greater. The offer also includes additional immunisation nurse classifications, a review of workplace health and safety policies to ensure they meet the ANMF’s 10-point plan to end violence and aggression and superannuation on all parental leave.
ANMF has recommended members endorse the improved EBA offer. A vote of all employees covered by the proposed agreement is scheduled to begin on 28 April.
Maribyrnong City Council
Maribyrnong MCH nurses and immunisation nurses voted in March to undertake a protected industrial action ballot in support of their campaign for improved wages and conditions. If successful, the ballot will provide members with the ability to decide, at a later date, to take legally protected industrial action. At the time of publication ANMF members were participating in the ballot, conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission. The ballot will close on 26 April.