BENDIGO maternal and child health nurses have started industrial action in a bid to improve their workload and achieve wage parity.
Negotiations for a new workplace agreement have been ongoing between the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) and the City of Greater Bendigo for more than seven months, however there is a stalemate over two key claims.
Nurses are seeking an additional pay grade to be introduced to assist in achieving wage parity with nurses employed in nearby rural areas such as Loddon and Buloke shires.
The nurses are also seeking improvements to their workloads and their capacity to provide a more timely service to Bendigo families.
Maternal and child health nurses are asking for a minimum of 30 minutes of non-clinical administrative time to be included into their workload formula to assist in managing data entry reporting requirements as well as writing necessary referrals for clients.
ANMF (Vic Branch) members began protected industrial action on Monday June 2.
The action has began with wearing red union T-shirts, distributing letters to the parents and families and limiting their indirect administration duties.
There will be community barbeques on June 3 and 4 with nurses stopping work for two hours on each day.
ANMF (Vic Branch) secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said nurses in Bendigo should be provided with the appropriate recognition of their work and the necessary time to improve the important service they provide.
“The additional pay increment the Maternal Child Health Nurses in Bendigo are seeking is consistent with other councils who have incorporated a ‘grade three’ pay rate into their agreements,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.
“These are skilled professionals whose salaries should reflect their experience.
“Bendigo’s maternal child health nurses work in a busy centre and appointments are often scheduled back to back to see babies and their mothers."
Ms Fitzpatrick said nurses spent hours outside of their working day to finish important paperwork.
“Hours are spent outside of the working day finalising referral paperwork, summarising reports from other health professionals and compiling important child protection documentation as there is not sufficient time on shift for these tasks and many others," she said.
“The members are simply seeking an additional 30 minutes for indirect clinical duties to ensure their work can be managed safely.”
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