VIDEO/PICTURES: Maternal and child health nurses fight for pay deal

Jacinta Allan supports maternal and child health nurses

VIDEO: Leigh Sharp

MATERNAL and child health nurses took a stand in Bendigo's CBD on Tuesday.

About 20 Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation's Victorian branch members participated in a stop work event, dressed in red shirts and holding placards.

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 Loddon and Buloke shires.

Maternal and child health nurse Kay Lehane said the Victorian Maternal and Child Health Service was a role model within Australia and beyond.

"So it's important that we maintain those standards," she said.

"We've been in negotiations with the council now for about seven months to try and improve our standing as far as parity with other shires goes for wages.

"We're asking for an extra pay grade.

"Many of the surrounding shires have four pay grades, we currently have two so we're asking for a third.

"We're also asking for an extra half hour per day of non clinical time so that we can provide a better service to our families.

"The reasons we're doing this is because we're an aging workforce.

"The majority of us are closer to 55 years of age and we know that over the next five years or so we're going to have nurses leaving the service.

"We also have an increasing birth rate so we need to be able to attract nurses to the service."

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan has thrown her support behind Bendigo's maternal and child health nurses fight for improved pay and workloads.

PROTESTING: Trish Grant and Kay Lehane at the stop work event. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

PROTESTING: Trish Grant and Kay Lehane at the stop work event. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

Ms Allan attended the Tuesday's stop work action and addressed the crowd.

"I'm a user of the maternal and child health services and I've really come to appreciate the great value of the service that it provides for new mums," Ms Allan said.

City of Greater Bendigo chief executive Craig Niemann told the Bendigo Advertiser on Monday 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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