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  • Smaller pay rise for Queensland nurses and midwives

    Author: Karen Keast

More than 33,000 Queensland public sector nurses and midwives will receive a 2.2 per cent pay rise from April next year, less than the three previous years’ pay rises at 3 per cent.

The April 1 pay rise comes alongside a $500 productivity bonus set to be paid to Queensland Health nurses and midwives as part of the 2012 EB8 agreement on March 31.

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Health Minister Lawrence Springborg, who recently announced the pay rise in a letter to the state’s nurses and midwives, said the 2.2 per cent wage rise was consistent with pay increases to other Queensland Health employees.

In a statement, the government said enterprise bargaining will follow the award modernisation process, which will determine whether any benefits or entitlements apply beyond 2.2 per cent.

The state’s nurses and midwives’ three-year enterprise bargaining agreement was set to be renegotiated in March but has instead been delayed until later next year.

The Queensland Nurses’ Union (QNU) labelled the pay rise substandard.

QNU secretary Beth Mohle said the pay increase falls “well under” the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recommended figure of 3 per cent.

“Our members will be shocked to learn this decision has been made without consultation or negotiation and they will certainly not put up with going backwards in terms of pay,” she said.

“This is especially the case given we negotiated 3 per cent per annum increases under the current enterprise bargaining deal and our members have worked so hard to demonstrate quantifiable productivity enhancements as part of this agreement.”

Ms Mohle said the pay rise was also made without any talks between the government and the QNU.

“This is not industrial relations or negotiating as we know it,” she said.

“This government is ignoring long established and proven channels and has taken matters firmly into their own hands.

“Sadly, they also do not appear to comprehend the significant benefits of a collaborative approach to industrial relations.”

Ms Mohle said members believed the government’s “real agenda” was aiming to avoid a dispute with nurses and midwives in the lead up to the next state election, expected to be held between March and June next year.

“If negotiations had continued as scheduled, this would have been the third state election in a row during which negotiations were underway to improve public sector pay and conditions.’’

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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords