Nurses gain four per cent pay increase


NURSES at the Gladstone District Health Service will receive a four per cent pay rise or an extra $30 per week, whichever is greater.

The pay rise will be backdated to October 26 last year.

The pay rise applies to nursing staff in all Queensland hospitals and outpatient centres, primary and community health care facilities, and state government aged care facilities.

For the Gladstone District Health Service this equates to about 200 nursing staff.

Organiser for the Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) Vicki Smyth said nurses had voted to accept the five-month interim enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) negotiated between the QNU and Queensland Health.

'Nurses decided to accept the interim EBA because it guaranteed backpay from October last year,' Ms Symth said.

'If this was a three-year agreement then the voting result would have been different.

'Nurses are disgruntled with what doctors in the public health system have been offered.

'At the moment our nurses are understaffed and overworked.'

Ms Smyth said the five month interim EBA was negotiated to give public sector nurses an immediate wage increase, while a full agreement is finalised early next year.

It is expected the full agreement will take into consideration the recommendations of the Forster Review of Queensland Health.

'The critical issue for nurses is having working conditions that will be able to attract nurses to Queensland Health, which was a recommendation of the Forster Report,' Ms Smyth said.

She added that the Davies report also acknowledged that nurses were overworked and understaffed and needed a better deal.

'When the full agreement is finalised next year that will be the telling point as to whether nurses are happy with the conditions on offer.'

QNU secretary Gay Hawksworth said the interim agreement also provided for increases in various allowances and improvements to other working conditions, including improved access to long service, and an increase in parental leave from six weeks to 12 weeks.

Meanwhile the Queensland Nursing Council has approved more than 100 applications for registration from overseas trained nurses since July.

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