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Mental health negotiations continue (update #10)

Mental health negotiations continue (update #10)

Campaign update #10

EBA negotiation meetings continue with the employers’ representative, the Victorian Hospitals’ Industrial Association (VHIA), the Department of Health and Human Services and the Health and Community Services Union (HACSU). However, the progress of the meeting schedules has slowed.

No meeting was held in the week commencing 2 November and meetings have been shorter in length. This is in part due to allow time for parties to consult with their members and to enable drafting of claims and clauses

We can update members that existing conditions in the mental health agreement are not under threat and all the improved outcomes achieved in the 2020-24 public sector nurses and midwives agreement, consistent with previous EBAs, are currently supported by VHIA and state government representatives.

ANMF remains committed and available to finalise the agreement as soon as possible.

Progress on members’ EBA claims

ANMF continues to seek to secure and address workload issues for nurses working in mental health services, as well as ensuring safe, consistent and quality care for the Victorian community.

We last reported that ANMF tabled a document mapping the staffing of nurses on each shift in each bed-based unit across the state.

As ANMF has previously stated, this data is central to pressing our claim for mandatory minimum staffing levels in the replacement agreement and builds on the outcome of the high dependency unit ratios achieved in 2016. It is now the most contemporary record of nurse staffing levels in Victoria’s mental health.

At this stage VHIA has not yet confirmed the data nor identified any objections to the data provided. We expect a response at our next negotiation meeting on 19 November.

ANMF continues to press for the inclusion of all the relevant clauses that ANMF negotiated in the 2020–24 public sector nurses and midwives agreement so that mental health nurses do not fall behind their colleagues

ANMF also continues to pursue claims relating to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System’s interim report including the reintroduction of standalone mobile support teams and crisis assessment and treatment (CATT) teams and claims to provide certainty about staffing of bed-based units. Other claims seek to address issues relating to the staffing of high dependency units to the detriment of low dependency units and increasing and strengthening nursing positions for community mental health.

Discussions and exchange of drafts for ANMF claims continue

Where ANMF claims are relevant to, or of interest to HACSU, ANMF continues to schedule separate meetings to progress these claims with the aim of having a unified position to negotiate with the employer. These include claims relating to strengthening obligations for the recruitment to vacant positions, backfilling of leave absences and the Community Workload Management System (CWMS).

ANMF remains concerned about a number of HACSU’s lived experience workforce claims. At this stage ANMF is not satisfied their draft definition of a lived experience worker has a clear enough distinction from clinical nursing roles.  ANMF is concerned about role creep and the substitution of mental health nurses. We welcome further discussion about these matters including clarity regarding reporting lines, duties and structure. Our preference remains that the royal commission’s expectation of the lived experience roles inform the structure and intersection with the clinical nursing workforce.

HACSU industrial action

ANMF understands that HACSU has informed employers of their intention to take protected industrial action.

ANMF has made significant bargaining progress around our claims. This includes achieving in principle agreement reached/or supported by VHIA and state government representatives for claims relating to all the improved outcomes achieved in negotiations for the nurses and midwives agreement 2020-2024. In light of this progress ANMF is not seeking to commence the process for ANMF members to engage in protected industrial action, at this point in time.

ANMF acknowledges that in addition to representing its nursing members in bargaining, HACSU is also pursuing claims for improved conditions for its health, allied health, admin, lived experience, personal services assistants and other members working in mental health which have not been agreed to by all parties.

ANMF respects the right for HACSU members to take protected industrial action. We remind ANMF members that they are not required to complete additional tasks or undertake any activities vacated by their HACSU colleagues, arising as a result of them engaging in protected industrial action.

Only HACSU members are legally entitled to take industrial action.

Forensicare negotiations

Nursing profile claim update

ANMF has submitted its nurse staffing levels mapping across all Forensicare units. Thank you to all of the Forensicare ANMF members who helped to map this data.

ANMF is seeking the inclusion of this nursing data in the next enterprise agreement, as a minimum level, to ensure the expertise of mental health nurses remains accessible to all Forensicare consumers.

ANMF has now submitted its claim for additional nurses in prisons.

Rep mailout

ANMF has sent union merchandise to mental health Job Reps and Health and Safety Reps to circulate to their member colleagues. Please contact ANMF via if you have not received a merchandise package.

Become a Job Rep

If you wish to nominate a colleague to be a job rep, or to be nominated yourself, please download the form.

Become an HSR

If you would like to become an HSR contact your ANMF Organiser via

Stay informed and involved

Members are encouraged to ensure ANMF has your correct workplace and contact details. You can update your details via the Member Portal

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