Hundreds of Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) members employed by blood donation service Lifeblood met yesterday morning to review an update on the employer’s proposed single enterprise agreement, which would cover workers across the entire country.
The historic meeting was the first-time the ANMF has conducted a national mass industrial meeting online.
ANMF members, including registered nurses (RN), enrolled nurses (EN) and nursing assistants (DSNAs) work for Lifeblood to help ensure the nation’s supply of blood and blood products is safely distributed to hospitals and other health providers.
Lifeblood has proposed one enterprise agreement covering ANMF members nationally, yet, many ANMF branches have been negotiating for years with the employer to replace longstanding expired agreements. For example, the agreement applicable to NSW and ACT nurses/DSNAs expired more than two years ago. While the agreement applicable in the NT expired over four years ago.
ANMF members heard from their colleagues from around Australia about the conditions Lifeblood is proposing, including freezing progression for many nurses and DSNAs working at lower pay points at pay point 4, meaning they will have no chance to move to higher pay points. The ANMF understands that depending on the classification, Lifeblood is proposing that new nurses who join them would be appointed somewhere in a pay range, with little transparency.
Further, Lifeblood is offering five weeks of annual leave to all nurses and DSNAs, many whom currently do not receive this entitlement. The Nurses Award 2020 provides five weeks of annual leave as a baseline. Lifeblood is also offering unlimited paid domestic violence leave and other conditions that the ANMF supports.
ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said that the hundreds of members who took part in the online meeting demonstrated how increasingly frustrated they were with ongoing negotiations.
“Throughout bargaining, Lifeblood has repeatedly delayed sharing important documents with the ANMF. And despite having months to prepare for bargaining, Lifeblood has drip-fed information, making bargaining very difficult,” Ms Butler said today.
“If Lifeblood wants to recruit and retain a highly skilled workforce, we’re asking that they treat their employees with respect and transparency. Lifeblood needs to be up-front with the total package they want to offer and which conditions they want to remove from enterprise agreements our members currently have. That’s only fair.
The meeting marks the latest step in the ANMF’s campaign for a fair deal for its members working at Lifeblood. Attendees heard ANMF members and officials from around the country and considered a range of options to advance members’ interests.