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Supporting members to take protected industrial action

Supporting members to take protected industrial action

Paul Gilbert

On top of all the other difficulties and challenges of the past three years, for members like those working for Diabetes Victoria a pandemic pay freeze imposed by their employer adds insult to injury.

This is the situation that diabetes nurse educators working for Diabetes Victoria currently find themselves in.

This week our diabetes nurse educator members will escalate their protected industrial action against Diabetes Victoria .

Members’ current enterprise agreement expired in 2020, around the same time that Diabetes Victoria instituted their wages freeze. Thanks to COVID delays preventing negotiations from commencing in a timely manner, these nurses have not had a pay increase since 2019 – and yet, after months of protracted talks, Diabetes Australia continues fail to address staff concerns and requests.

Diabetes Victoria’s current offer will leave their diabetes nurse educators about 8 per cent behind their colleagues employed in the public health sector. Among other concerns, this situation had led to low morale and is making it difficult for the organisation to retain and recruit staff.

Meanwhile, last week, with the support of the ANMF (Vic Branch), Darebin MCH and immunisation nurses stepped up their protected industrial action with a stop-work meeting outside Preston Town Hall.

Our members’ decision to stop work was not taken lightly, and only made after negotiations between ANMF and the council reached a stalemate after almost a year.

Key among members’ concerns is that the council’s most recent offer refused to recognise the increased 45-minute key ages and stages appointment times, which was a state government election promise. While the extra 15 minutes allocated for each appointment is a welcome and necessary change, members must be recognised and compensated for the extra work.

They are also seeking improved entitlements, including a parking permit for community MCHN visits, improved education access, and a three per cent pay rise (or $45 per week increase, whichever is greater) backdated from 1 July 2022, 3.5 per cent increase (or $45 per week, whichever is greater) from 1 July 2023 and 3.2 per cent increase (or $45 per week) from 1 July 2024.

Darebin’s offer – of a 2 per cent administrative increase paid from 1 July 2022, a 2.8 per cent increase in 2023 and an uncertain pay rise in 2024 subject to an unknown rate cap – has been rejected by members.

ANMF (Vic Branch) remains willing and available to continue talks with both Diabetes Victoria and Darebin City Council to reach a satisfactory resolution for members and congratulates our members for their passion and collectivism.

Head on honours the pandemic work of members

Speaking of the difficulties and indignities of the past three years, at the Branch’s recent delegates conference we launched Head on: how Victorian nurses and midwives confronted COVID.

This 336-page hardcover book and a companion website tells your story about how you as nurses, midwives, carers, and nursing or midwifery students in Victoria met the challenges of a once-in-a-century pandemic, in the hardest hit state in the nation.

Almost 100 first-person accounts, contributed by ANMF members and your colleagues, make up this important historical document of the time, and of your work on the frontline. It is not always easy reading – although there are several inspiring stories of silver linings found and furbished – but it is vital reading.

Our hope is that by giving you this platform to tell your stories, future generations of public health and health policy makers will understand the full impact of their decisions, and that the general public will better understand what it was like to be a nurse, midwife, carer, or nursing and/or midwifery student during this time.

It is also perhaps the only recorded experiences available for future generations in the nursing and midwifery professions.

To read the stories online or purchase the book visit

The Voice

Giving nurses, midwives, carers and nursing and/or midwifery students a voice to speak their truths is as essential as giving our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters, cousins and colleagues, a Voice to speak theirs.

The ANMF is unequivocal in its support for a Yes vote to enshrine an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament. We know that members will have many questions, and we are doing our best to collate information about the issues in order to help you find the answers.

Assistant Secretary Madeleine Harradence has sought advice from the Australian National University’s First Nations portfolio to put together a list of frequently asked questions, and answers, for members.

Members can also visit Unions for Yes and Yes23 for detailed information.

As we are halfway through NAIDOC Week as this issue of On the Record reaches your inboxes, I would encourage you to give what time you can over the next few days – and beyond – to learn about what is proposed in this Referendum and to reflect upon the impacts of racism in our society.