Nurses must wait until later this month to vote on the state government’s pay deal, after a ruling by the Industrial Relations Commission this afternoon.
Nurses must wait until later this month to vote on the state government’s pay deal, the Industrial Relations Commission ruled this afternoon.
Business News revealed earlier today that a surprise hearing of the commission had been called over concerns about the way a state government pay offer to nurses and midwives is being progressed.
The commission has ruled that a ballot of nurses and midwives be deferred until 28 November.
The Australian Nursing Federation was warned not to make any public statements suggesting the union would seek a claim better than what the government offered, and told not to encourage members to vote for or against the offer.
The commission also recommended the ANF disable comments on its Facebook page.
The Australian Nursing Federation says the government called for the hearing following the union's threat to go ahead with strike action even though a deal appeared to have been reached earlier this week.
Nurses and midwives were angry when union leaders seemed to accept a pay rise of less than the 10 per cent they voted to pursue at a rally last month.
It's understood the IRC was concerned when ANF secretary Janet Reah said yesterday that she believed nurses would vote down the offer and would go ahead with a one-day all-out strike across the health system.
It followed an offer of a 3 per cent rise, $3000 cost of living bonus, increments of up to $1,200 for about 50 per cent of nurses and a commitment to start enforceable nurse-to-patient ratios early next year.
Nurses had until Tuesday to vote on that offer, but even when the ANF chief executive Mark Olson put the proposal to members he was booed during a meeting at Fiona Stanley Hospital.
He told Business News today, that he doubts nurses will support the offer and are likely to revert to a demand for a 5 per cent pay rise per year over two years.
This would undermine the government's belief that an agreement had been reached with the ANF.