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Nurses knock back ‘substandard’ Mater offer

Nurses and midwives at the Mater Public Hospital in Brisbane have overwhelmingly rejected an attempt to implement nurse and midwife employment conditions that are inferior to Queensland Health employment arrangements.

Huge majority votes were cast against the hospital’s non-government operators’ proposed wages and conditions.

The Newman government is tapping the Mater Public Hospital in its policy to privatise Queensland’s free public hospital system.

Traditionally, Queensland Health and Mater Public nurse and midwife workplace agreements match each other and Mater Public receives the same funding as Queensland Health facilities do for nursing and midwifery enterprise bargaining outcomes.

Since negotiations began more than 14 months ago, Mater Public management has been refusing to match nurse and midwife pay and professional development rates at other Queensland public hospitals.

The management also wants to remove the no-forced redundancies clause from its nurses and midwives’ agreement.

In early April, Mater management sent a draft collective workplace agreement on sub-standard employment arrangements, to a ballot of its nurses and midwives working in its public facilities at South Brisbane.

A total of 1191 (87 per cent) voted not to support the proposed agreement.

QNU secretary Beth Mohle said she is not surprised Mater Public Hospital nurses and midwives overwhelmingly rejected the sub-standard offer from the Mater management.

“They could also see clearly what QNU officials and delegates could see – that the Mater, especially in the context of a hospital privatisation debate, was trying to start the scale back of nurse and midwife wages and working conditions,” she said.

“This is despite the Mater receiving the same funding for nurses and midwives as Queensland Health facilities.”

She said the approach to dealing with nurses and midwives is unacceptable.

“Despite management threats of job losses and other catastrophic consequences if this offer did not get up, the Mater nurses and midwives have shown great courage and leadership and said they will not be undervalued in this way.”

Mohle has called on the Mater Public management to listen to their employees’ demands during negotiation and finalise a new agreement.

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