Nurses strike for better pay and conditions

Picture: FILE

Picture: FILE

BENDIGO maternal and child health nurses will stop work for two hours on Tuesday and Wednesday in a bid to improve pay and workloads.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation's Victorian branch and the City of Greater Bendigo have reached a stalemate in negotiations for a new workplace agreement.

Nurses want wage parity with colleagues employed in nearby rural areas such as the Loddon and Buloke shires. 

Bendigo maternal and child health nurse Trish Grant said clients were the nurses' priority. She said nurses wanted 30 minutes' additional "non-direct clinical time" each day.

Mrs Grant said nurses worked unpaid overtime to ensure their clients received complex referrals to other services, including for autism spectrum disorder. Extra time would also allow flexibility to fit in clients with urgent needs.

City of Greater Bendigo chief executive officer Craig Niemann said management would soon ask staff to vote on a formal agreement.

“The nurses are highly valued by the organisation and the community and their remuneration packages are in line with those provided by other similar local governments in Victoria such as Ballarat, Geelong and Latrobe," he said.

“While management has been able to reach an agreed position on almost all of the matters raised by the nurses, there are a couple of areas where agreement has not been possible. As a result, some nurses have voted to impose work bans, which are protected under the Fair Work Act.

“The city is working to minimise the impact of these bans on the community.”

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