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VOTE NO: Bolton Clarke’s unfair agreement stains RDNS legacy

VOTE NO: Bolton Clarke’s unfair agreement stains RDNS legacy


  • Victoria’s Royal District Nursing Service merged with Queensland’s RSL Care in 2015 which became Bolton Clarke in 2017.
  • ANMF recommends members vote no in the Bolton Clarke enterprise agreement ballot.
  • The ballot takes place from 9am, Monday 22 July to 5pm, Monday 29 July.
  • The unfair proposed agreement provides different wages and entitlements for nurses and carers doing the same work.
  • If Bolton Clarke employees vote the agreement down, management must continue negotiating with ANMF for fairer wages and entitlements for all nurses and carers.

ANMF is encouraging Bolton Clarke nurses and community care aids to stand up for fair wages and conditions by voting no to management’s proposed enterprise agreement.

The ballot is taking place between 22 July and 29 July and applies to more than 1000 Victorian nurses and community carers.

The proposed agreement cements an unfair, two-tiered system of wages and conditions resulting from the merger between the Victorian Royal District Nursing Service and Queensland’s RSL Care in 2015. The new entity, Bolton Clarke, employs nurses and carers in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.

While former RDNS nurses and carers remained on the wages and conditions of their enterprise agreement, all new Bolton Clarke nurses and carers employed in Victoria are paid less and have fewer entitlements under its Queensland agreement.

The RDNS agreement expired in July 2018.

Bolton Clarke pulled out of negotiations for a new agreement in March this year. Management decided to ballot its proposed agreement following the Fair Work Commission’s decision on 12 July to reject the ANMF (Vic Branch) application for a Victoria-only agreement, known as a scope application.

The unfair proposed agreement provides different wages and entitlements, for the same work, depending on whether you are a former employee of Victoria’s Royal District Nursing Service.

ANMF (Vic Branch) Acting Secretary Paul Gilbert said: ‘This agreement does not respect the work of nurses or carers nor seek to develop its workforce’s qualifications, knowledge or skills which lead to improved patient care.

‘Different wages and conditions for the same work corrodes a nursing team and leads to division and resentment,’ Mr Gilbert said.

The Bolton Clarke proposal:

If you were employed under the
Victorian RDNS agreement
New employees under the RSL agreement
No wage rise unless the Victorian rate falls below the Queensland rate. The last pay rise was in mid-2017. Annual wage increases of: 2.5%, 2.25%, 2.25% and 2.25%. No back dating, no specified pay rise dates.
Qualification allowance between 4-7.5% No entitlement
26 weeks LSL at 15 years’ service accessible at seven years 13 weeks LSL at 15 years’ service accessible at seven years
Entitlement to a disciplinary process providing a stepped and fair approach to warnings or dismissal No entitlement
Entitlement to status quo in the event of a dispute (an employer can’t change work practices where these are disputed) No entitlement
Provision of an 8-week redeployment period to enable redeployment options to be explored No entitlement
Relocation allowance where a significant financial loss is suffered due to relocation No entitlement
52 weeks’ income maintenance in context of organisational change No entitlement
Fixed term employment limited to genuine fixed term arrangements No limitation
Five days professional development leave No entitlement
Personal leave of 12 days in the first year of service, 13 in the second, third and fourth years of service and 19 thereafter Personal leave of 10 days
Five weeks’ annual leave for all nurses and carers (six weeks for shift workers) Five weeks annual leave for nurses, four weeks annual leave for carers
Leave loading of 17.5% or projected roster whichever is greater Leave loading of 17.5% only
Shift allowances payable in addition to public holiday and weekend penalty rates Shift penalties paid instead of public holidays and weekend penalty rates
Redundancy pay of two weeks per year of service capped at 20 weeks Up to 16 weeks’ pay
Performance improvement processes that provide an entitlement to a fair process of support to achieve performance standards No entitlement
All overtime worked on Saturday and Sunday paid at 200% First two hours of overtime worked on Saturday paid at 150% and double time thereafter
Travel allowance $0.91 – $1.11 Travel allowance $0.78
20 days domestic and family violence leave 20 days domestic and family violence leave

‘RDNS has historically offered competitive wages and conditions so it was able to attract highly experienced and skilled nurses to care for people in their own homes,’ Mr Gilbert said.

‘Victorian nurses and carers are incredibly proud of the work they do and are deeply saddened that this is where the iconic Royal District Nursing Service has ended up.

‘We urge Bolton Clarke members to participate in this ballot and make sure they vote no so we can keep negotiating for respectful wages and conditions,” he said.

‘Voting is anonymous’, Mr Gilbert said, ‘So you can make sure your voice is heard.’