Health workers settle

Christian Catalano, The Age, November 16, 2007 The State Government has
dodged a second round of nurses' strikes, settling an industrial
dispute with 4000 mental health workers before bed closures. More than
400 members of the Health and Community Services Union voted for a new
four-year deal yesterday that will see annual wage increases of between
3.6% and 6%. In addition, 60 mental health nurse and clinician places
will be created and the Government will set up a taskforce on
recruitment and retention issues. State HCSU secretary Lloyd Williams
said the deal would make it safer for nurses by allowing more flexible
staffing arrangements in acute mental health units. Nearly two-thirds
of psychiatric nurses claim to have been physically assaulted by a
patient over the past year.