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Mental health EBA update #16: EBA negotiations focus on priority claims and fair wage rise

Mental health EBA update #16: EBA negotiations focus on priority claims and fair wage rise

Bargaining meetings

Members will be aware ANMF wrote to Deputy Premier and Mental Health Minister James Merlino on 5 August 2021 [PDF] outlining members’ concerns over the Victorian Government’s wage offer of eight per cent over four years.

Follow up bargaining meetings were held on 6, 19 and 25 August 2021.

ANMF member claims included in offer

ANMF has clarified claims not contained in the offer tabled on 3 August.

After further review and discussion at bargaining meetings, ANMF can report that the offer contains 68 (78%) of ANMF members’ claims. Importantly this includes enhanced paid parental leave, superannuation to be paid on all periods of paid and non-paid parental leave, additional high dependency unit night duty nurse (equivalent full time) and clinical nurse educators for mother baby units.

There are now five priority outstanding matters.

Outstanding matters

Of the remaining 22 member claims, five are priority claims. These are:

  1. wages
  2. inclusion of improved staffing profiles, (defined as adequate numbers of nursing staff)
  3. community skill mix
  4. community workload management system
  5. graduate support nurse role.

These priority claims were clearly stated in our 19 August bargaining meeting following our 4 August statewide members meeting when members resoundingly rejected the Andrews Government’s offer [PDF].

Members’ wage claim has always been for parity with general nurses (nine per cent over four years). The current wage offer of two per cent per annum over a four-year agreement is unacceptable. Victoria is in a critical period of reform across the mental health sector and wages must be comparable to ensure we can attract mental health nurses into the profession now.

ANMF remains confident that the Andrews Government will appreciate the urgent need for a fair and reasonable wages offer for mental health nurses.

We have had some positive discussions in relation to some of our outstanding non-wage claims including staffing and graduate support nurses.

Next steps?

ANMF has tabled our wages comparison between general and mental health nurses [PDF] to all bargaining parties.

We have clearly identified the priority outstanding matters. We look forward to resolving these final matters and being able to update members again as soon as possible.

ANMF understands the department is considering a revised offer. ANMF continues to make itself available for further negotiations.