Lack of transparency sparks industrial action on northern beaches
Frustrated nurses and midwives from Manly and Mona Vale Branches of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) have today voted to take strike action next week.
The decision comes after a drawn-out, unreasonable job matching process for nurses and midwives transferring from Manly and Mona Vale Hospitals to the new Northern Beaches Hospital.
NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said the lack of transparency during the process has resulted in nurses and midwives being wrongly excluded from positions they should have been matched with.
“A lack of consultation with staff and their union during the EOI process has led to staff being matched to very different positions with no explanation or logic around why those decisions were made. Shift workers have been matched to day worker positions and others to completely different wards or areas that do not reflect their current expertise,” said Mr Holmes.
“In addition, nurses and midwives wishing to return to the Public Health System, have not been guaranteed the ability to hold on to their accrued public health entitlements, such as annual leave and long service leave following that transfer process.”
Both branches are seeking commitment from the Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD), the NSW Government and Healthscope to immediately commence negotiations with the NSWNMA by close of business Monday, 30 April or they will strike on Wednesday, 2 May from 11am until 3pm.
The NSWNMA is committed to the provision of safe patient care, so will ensure night staffing levels remain on duty during the four hour strike period.
“A failure by Northern Sydney Local Health District and Healthscope to recognise the need to match current staff expertise to future positions has resulted in members demonstrating their lack of confidence in the new Northern Beaches Hospital. They showed that today in their vote for a strike and the demand for a longer right to return to Public Health System employment without loss of their entitlements,” said Mr Holmes.
“It’s been almost four years since the government signed a contract with Healthscope to build and manage Sydney’s new Northern Beaches Hospital. With around six months to go until the hospital opens, staff are only just being given information about employment conditions, staffing and transitions now. It’s simply not good enough.”
We keep being reassured that public patients will not be affected in these public private partnerships (PPPs) but the secrecy surrounding the agreement between the NSW Government and Healthscope is extremely concerning.”
The Manly and Mona Vale Branches are seeking rock solid commitments around the following concerns:
- The ability to return to a job in the Public Health System and take all accrued entitlements and not be paid out
- That the transfer payment allocated to those nurses and midwives transferring to the new Northern Beaches Hospital will not be required to be paid back if an employee decides to then transfer back to the Public Health System
- Specific position descriptions and hours of work for all nursing and midwifery staff provided
- Staff to be matched to appropriate skill sets and a thorough explanation and rationale if they are not matched appropriately
- The complete nursing and midwifery structure, including all classifications in Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for all wards and specialty areas
- That staff who are for redeployment, be redeployed within the Local Area Health District
The hospital build is ahead of schedule and due to open in October this year.
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