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Public sector EBA update #20: intensive negotiations to resume

Public sector EBA update #20: intensive negotiations to resume

Status of negotiations

ANMF met with Treasurer Tim Pallas and Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas, and representatives from the Department of Health and Industrial Relations Victoria to discuss the next steps in the negotiations.

We have outlined the issues that members have raised around the wages offer component of the rejected in-principle agreement.

ANMF has advised government that clarity on the dollar increases relating to salaries is required.

Daily intensive discussions will resume from tomorrow between ANMF and senior representatives from the Department of Health.


ANMF has been meeting with Job Reps and members across the state to answer questions about the rejected offer and to support stage 1 protected industrial action. These meetings have been well attended and continue this week. Here are some answers to common questions asked at these meetings:

How will the next meeting happen?

ANMF is listening to all of the constructive feedback about the last statewide meeting. Issues around access, format, more voting opportunities and the timing are all being considered.

When does everyone get a chance to vote?

Historically when ANMF has an offer for members to consider we call a statewide members meeting. At this meeting, the ANMF gets an indicative vote from members and will then take instructions from that meeting on next steps.

Most recently the resolution from the 30 April 2024 statewide members meeting required a further statewide members meeting once ANMF had an improved offer for consideration.

When we have the next offer for members to consider, this meeting will be in a different format taking into account members’ feedback.

Once an in-principle agreement has been accepted, EBA drafting is finalised (the current 2020-24 agreement is 253 pages).

The Fair Work Act 2009 then requires a secret ballot of all of employees covered by the agreement to either accept or reject the agreement. There is a seven-day access period to the full enterprise agreement and additional information is provided about the key changes prior to the ballot.

If members, through that ballot, support the agreement, the employer then makes an application to the Fair Work Commission for approval. The FWC examines the agreement in fine detail and ensures all of the legally required steps have been followed. There is no time period for this to happen, but once it is completed the agreement becomes enforceable seven days later.

Why can’t we add new things to the negotiations?

The ANMF, together with its Job Reps, must ‘bargain in good faith’ in order to change and improve matters in an enterprise agreement.

Part of bargaining in good faith is being clear about claims that form the basis of the bargaining. ANMF formally provided the log of claims to the employers on 20 October 2023 prior to the start of the negotiations. This forms the basis for the negotiations, along with any claims of the employer.

The log of claims is industrial-speak for a ‘wish list’ of what members want to see in the next agreement.

ANMF finalised the members’ log of claims in 2023. It was presented, amended and supported at the 2023 Delegates Conference, and endorsed by Branch Council. The log of claims is developed using:

  1. Resolutions passed at delegates conferences. These are motions that are submitted to the meeting by Job Reps and Health and Safety Reps on behalf of the members at their workplace.
  2. Previous claims not yet achieved.
  3. Our experience in workplace disputes, in case new wording in your agreement could resolve or prevent current or future disputes.
  4. Initiatives the ANMF think will be beneficial to address systemic problems that members face, and to improve wages and conditions.

When are we going to restart stage 2?

Stage 2 industrial action was suspended in good faith once we had negotiated an offer we thought we could recommend to members.

Members voted to reject that offer and we have instructions to go back to the negotiating table.

Stage 2 protected industrial action is still on the table. ANMF will provide members further strategic advice about stage 2 when the timing is right to get the best outcome for members.

Some of the actions in the protected industrial action ballot are yet to commence, so we have made an application to the Fair Work Commission to extend the time we have to commence each action from 30 days to 60 days after the ballot declarations.

Stage 1 protected industrial action continues, including wearing the campaign t-shirt, handing out the dear patient letter, calling talkback radio and writing to newspapers, talking about your campaign on social media, banning overtime and refusing redeployment. See EBA update #14 for more details via

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