24 January 2019

Nurses and Midwives Industrial Action Escalates Due to No Offer

Media Doorstop:         ANMF Tasmanian Branch Office, 19 Brisbane St, Launceston
When:                              Today – Thursday 24 January 2019
Time:                               1:30pm
Who:                                Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary

Yet again, the Government have promised but are yet to deliver, a competitive offer to nurses and midwives. There have been at least three major promises of an offer in the last month with no outcome.  The Branch Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), Ms Emily Shepherd said today, “if our members worked like the Government then undoubtedly people would be waiting many hours for things both needed and promised such as pain relief and essential treatment and lives would be compromised.  However, unlike the Government, nurses and midwives attempt often in difficult circumstances, to meet the needs of patients and clients as quickly as possible.”

Negotiations between the parties commenced in May 2018.  The agreement currently registered with the Tasmanian Industrial Commission has a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2018, usually a pay rise falls early in December.  Therefore, as pointed out by Emily Shepherd “it is not as if the Government have been surprised by the request for a new agreement, unfortunately, the continued obstinance to provide a competitive offer, clearly because of their ideology that a 2% package will always be enough, is a failed strategy and is creating anger and also raising expectations amongst our membership.”

“Nurses and midwives will always put patients first.  They are reasonable people who really just want to go and do their job well, but they are increasingly angry that the Government continue to ignore the fact that not offering a competitive package to nurses and midwives will seriously jeopardise the nursing and midwifery professions and the safety of patients in the future.

Nurses and midwives have unanimously resolved at state wide meetings to increase their industrial action.  “This is not something they do lightly. They accept that they make an easy target for the Health Minister to come out and say they are endangering the lives of patients: this is just spin doctoring.  Nurses and midwives will always ensure patients are safe.  If night duty staffing at 2am is safe, there can be no problem with night duty staffing levels at 2pm where, unlike on night duty, there are lots of back up staff.  The person putting patients at risk now and into the future is the Premier who, as the Minister Administering the State Service Act, has a responsibility to reach an agreement with his present, and in order to ensure a future, workforce.”

Nurses and midwives action includes a ban on overtime and double shifts for 2 days a week, which commenced at midnight last night, for two weeks and should a competitive offer not be received, state wide stop work meetings will commence on 7 February every Thursday and in increasing frequency until the Government provide an acceptable offer. Further, industrial action by theatre staff across the state in relation to surgery is currently being considered and will be taken to theatre staff across the state for endorsement this week.

‘This campaign on behalf of nurses and midwives is not a philosophical one, it is based on fact and evidence that there are hundreds of vacancies across the Tasmanian Health Service which are being covered by the goodwill of nurses and midwives. The nursing and midwifery population will be further decimated if the Government does not act to provide a competitive package that retains and recruits nurses and midwives in Tasmania.’


Media contact:
Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary
Mobile: 0400 884 021
Email: emily.shepherd@anmftas.org.au