Home | Industry & Reform | Qld govt to meet nurses for pay talks

Qld govt to meet nurses for pay talks

The Queensland Nurses Union is seeking to finalise an EBA for thousands of nurses and midwives before Saturday.

The new Liberal National Party (LNP) government will meet with Queensland public-sector unions this week, with nurses expected to push for a new wages deal.

The Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) is seeking to finalise an enterprise bargaining agreement for thousands of nurses and midwives before the old one expires on Saturday.

Premier Campbell Newman said he intends to meet with the nurses' union and other public-sector unions, in the next few days.

Newman says he doesn't see any need for the nurses to consider industrial action.

"We're the incoming government and we want to work co-operatively with the unions," he told reporters during his first media conference as premier yesterday.

"The previous government, frankly, should have resolved these matters by now and we will put our shoulder to the wheel this week."

Earlier, QNU Secretary Beth Mohle told AAP she wrote to premier-elect Campbell Newman on Monday, hoping to salvage five months of negotiations that took place before the former Labor government went into caretaker mode.

"We don't want to lose five months of negotiations and hope we can negotiate in good faith to get this over and done with," she said.

Mohle said the union was still not satisfied with several key points. Also worrying was the LNP plan for a three per cent wages cap on public-sector wage costs.

Before the election was called, the negotiating parties had agreed to a three per cent, or $30 a week annual pay rise, whichever was greater.

Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams says the state's growth means the cap is unsustainable.

Even if the LNP promised to exclude frontline services like nursing from the cap, it would be bad news for the public sector as a whole, he said.

"If you are going to allow certain areas to grow faster than three per cent because they have to, that means you have to cut back everywhere else," he told AAP.

Battams said an LNP refusal to commit to public servant pay rises in line with inflation was also of concern.

The LNP has promised not to force redundancies to achieve the move.

Battams believes a significant number of voluntary redundancies would be needed.

However, he says he will discuss the issues with an "open mind" with Newman at an upcoming meeting.


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