RNs - Victoria

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Vic nurses pay dispute escalates

ABC Online, Samantha Donovan, October 22, 2007 The Victorian nurses'
pay dispute is escalating, with nurses continuing to close beds in
defiance of an Industrial Relations Commission order. The nurses want a
six per cent pay rise but the Victorian government is offering them
three and a quarter per cent over five years. Their union says its
members are being bullied as they implement their work bans. The Brumby
Labor government says it hasn't heard reports of bullying, but if the
bans continue hospitals will have no choice but to penalise the nurses
under the WorkChoices legislation. ... Vic

Legal action will not resolve the Victorian nurses' dispute

More genuine negotiations needed. Australian Nursing Federation
(Victorian Branch), October 21, 2007 The Australian Industrial
Relations Commission has granted the Brumby Government's section 496
orders under the WorkChoices laws to stop the Victorian nurses'
industrial action. The orders are not enforceable until 7 AM tomorrow.
Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) Secretary Lisa
Fitzpatrick said: "These orders will not resolve the dispute and will
be seen by nurses as further harassment and intimidation and will only
steel their determination. ... Legal

Vic nurses told to lift work bans

ABC News, October 21, 2007 Victorian nurses have until 7 AM AEST
tomorrow to lift their work bans, under an order issued by the
Industrial Relations Commission today. The work bans over recent days
have closed up to 1,000 beds and cancelled 300 elective surgeries, as
nurses try to secure a 6 per cent pay rise. Talks are continuing in the
IRC and employers could take the matter to the Federal Court if nurses
do not end their bans by the deadline. Victorian Nursing Federation
Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick says the action will continue. ... Vic

Formal talks with nurses may end bed closures

Ian Royall, Herald Sun, October 20, 2007 Nurses and the State
Government will begin formal talks today in an attempt to halt the bed
closures and cancelled operations crippling Victoria's hospitals
system. In a significant breakthrough late yesterday, after three days
of legal argument, conciliation talks will begin at 9.30 AM at the
Industrial Relations Commission on the details of a pay deal for the
state's 25,000 nurses. But work bans were expected to continue.
Department of Human Services said yesterday 774 hospital beds were
closed and 284 operations had been cancelled statewide. But the nurses'
union put the bed closure figure at 1046. ... Formal

Nurses, state to begin talks to break deadlock

Christian Catalano, The Age, October 20, 2007 Relief is in sight for
hundreds of Victorian patients left stranded by the nurses' work bans,
with the Brumby Government and the union agreeing to begin formal
conciliation over the weekend. As the stand-off enters its fourth day,
with 700 hospital beds officially closed and nearly 300 elective
surgeries cancelled, the Australian Nursing Federation decided
yesterday to withdraw its own bargaining period. That decision will
force both parties into fresh negotiations this morning, which will be
overseen by independent adjudicator Greg Smith of the Industrial
Relations Commission. ... Nurses

Nurses' strike continues in Warrnambool

ABC News, October 19, 2007 Strike action by nurses at the Warrnambool
Hospital, in south-western Victoria, is continuing, with the closure of
another elective surgery theatre today. Five patients have been
informed about their cancelled procedures. Nurses around the state are
banning elective surgery as part of an industrial strike to get better
pay and conditions. A spokeswoman for South West Healthcare says the
strike is not affecting the hospital's admission levels. Meanwhile, up
to five beds remain closed at the Ballarat Base Hospital. Since
Tuesday, 45 elective surgery procedures have also been cancelled. ©
2007 ABC

Nurses would be in same boat if Rudd was PM

Ewin Hannan & Brad Norington, The Australian, October 19, 2007
Nurses taking industrial action in Victoria would also be limited in
the action they could take under a Rudd government, federal Labor
acknowledged yesterday. John Howard yesterday said the ALP was guilty
of hypocrisy after the Victorian Labor Government was accused of using
the full force of Work Choices in its pay dispute with nurses. Unions
are furious that the Brumby Government has used Work Choices to dock
the pay of nurses after its union closed beds and shut down theatre
sessions. ... Nurses

Hockey weighs in on nurses dispute

Christian Catalano, Paul Austin & Ben Doherty, The Age, October 19,
2007 The Howard Government has joined the Victorian nurses' union in
urging Premier John Brumby to boost wages for their 28,000 members to
end a bitter industrial dispute. As a further 300 beds were closed
across Victoria's public hospital system - taking the official tally to
457 beds last night - the Premier came under renewed attack from
federal Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey, who said the dispute
could, and should, be resolved instantly. ... Hockey

Firemen add to heat on Brumby

Rick Wallace, The Australian, October 18, 2007 The Brumby Government -
embroiled in a wages brawl with the state's nurses - is also under
siege from angry firefighters claiming it has blood on its hands.
Firefighters descended on the centre of Melbourne yesterday, accusing
the Government and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade of reneging on a deal
to replace their uniforms. And firefighters are also refusing to enter
buildings to fight fires - except in cases where there are people
trapped inside - until their outfits are upgraded. The protest came
after a firefighter was badly burnt in a factory fire last week, an
injury the union has blamed on outdated protective uniforms. ... Firemen

Labor at war over IR laws

Ewin Hannan & Rick Wallace, The Australian, October 18, 2007 The
Victorian Labor Government has been accused of undermining one of Kevin
Rudd's central election pitches by using the "full force" of John
Howard's Work Choices in a bitter pay dispute with the state's hospital
nurses. Union leaders last night warned the state Government's use of
Work Choices would damage the ACTU's political campaign against the
Howard Government in the build-up to the November 24 poll. Nurses
around the country will today converge on marginal seats as part of a
planned ACTU doorknocking strategy to highlight the evils of Work
Choices. ... Labor

Stand-off deepens as nurses lose pay

Christian Catalano & David Rood, The Age, October 18, 2007 At least
150 Victorians have already had their surgery cancelled and more than
250 public hospital beds have been closed, as nurses' hardline
industrial action enters its second day. Negotiations between the
Brumby Government and the nurses' union appeared to deteriorate further
yesterday, with thousands of nurses told they would be docked at least
four hours' pay for every day they took part in the action. The state's
28,000 nurses also found unlikely support from the Howard Government,
which berated Premier John Brumby for failing to "do the right thing"
by his employees. ... Stand-off

Brumby defends docking nurses' pay as bans increase

Grant McArthur, Ashley Gardiner & Nick Higginbottom, Herald Sun,
October 18, 2007 Victorian Premier John Brumby says the state
government is doing everything it can to get nurses to end their work
bans, and has defended docking their pay. Nurses have closed more than
300 beds in the state's public hospitals, forcing the cancellation of
elective surgery for at least 60 patients. Nurses have rejected the
government's 3.25 per cent pay offer, and are seeking a six per cent
rise per year. Mr Brumby said hospitals had no choice under federal
laws but to dock the pay of nurses involved in work bans, and risked
$33,000 fines per incident if they failed to dock pay. ... Brumby

Howard Government clarifies WorkChoices laws

Victorian nurses must be paid because they are continuing to work.
Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch), October 17, 2007
Hospital management must back off: Howard Government clarifies
WorkChoices laws Victorian nurses must be paid because they are
continuing to work. The Federal Workplace Relations Minister has
declared that Victorian nurses who are continuing their rostered shifts
despite participating in action must continue to be paid because they
are still working. Nurses today experienced unprecedented bullying from
hospital management, even standing outside toilets, to make sure they
had the names of nurses ... Howard

Nurses will escalate action if hospital CEOs don't stop threatening nurses with WorkChoices

Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch), October 17, 2007 ANF
has called on the Victorian Premier to stop inflaming the current
dispute by bullying and intimidating nurses in hospitals and to start
seriously negotiating with the nurses' union to resolve the dispute
about wages and workloads. ANF (Victorian Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said: "ANF has learned that the
Department of Human Services has issued a directive to hospital chief
executive officers to hold scripted one-on-one interviews with
individual nurses to determine their participation in the industrial
action so that they can apply the full force of the WorkChoices laws
against them. ... " Nurses

Nurses to close 1 in 4 beds today

Christian Catalano & David Rood, The Age, October 17, 2007 Patients
across Victoria's public hospital system will face serious delays to
their treatment from today, with the state's 28,000 nurses introducing
bed closures as their industrial dispute intensifies. From 7 AM today,
nurses will shut down one in every four public hospital beds and the
same proportion of operating theatre sessions until they can agree with
the Brumby Government on a new wages and workload deal. More than 3000
nurses voted in favour of the work bans at a meeting in East Melbourne
yesterday ... Nurses

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