We have won

We’re witnessing some terrific gymnastics from QHealth after even just minor pressure was applied through the Courier Mail.  

The Courier Mail ran a news story online on Wednesday 27 March NPAQ told it can’t represent members”

The opening paragraph reads:

According to the memorandum (signed by the Acting Chief resources Officer Silvan Simmons), the Nurses’ Professional Association of Queensland cannot represent or advocate on behalf of an employee in relation to an employment matter.

and it goes on to detail NPAQ’s response ...

As we know, it is a journalists responsibility to seek out both sides of the story, the final paragraph reads.

A Queensland Health spokesman said all employees were able to seek the services of organisations, including the NPAQ, to represent their workplace interests.

“However only employee organisations registered under the Industrial Relations Act 2016 are entitled to be a party to an award or certified agreement between Queensland Health and employees,” he said.

“The memo was sent to Hospital and Health Service chief executives to inform them that the NPAQ is an incorporated association, not a registered employee organisation for the purposes of the IR Act.”

We note the following sections of the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld): 

4 How main purpose is primarily achieved

The main purpose of this Act is to be achieved primarily by—

(m) encouraging fairness and representation at work, and the prevention of discrimination, by recognising the right to freedom of association, the right to organise and the right to be represented; and

287 Coercion

(1) A person must not organise or take, or threaten to organise or take, any action against another person with intent to coerce the other person or a third person—

(a) to exercise or not exercise, or to propose to exercise or not exercise, a workplace right; or
(b) to exercise, or to propose to exercise, a workplace right in a particular way.

289 Misrepresentations

(1) A person must not knowingly or recklessly make a false or misleading representation to another person about—

(a) the workplace rights of the other person or a third person; or
(b) the exercise, or the effect of the exercise, of a workplace right by the other person or a third person.

As you can see Queensland Health have backed down and repudiated the intent of the Silvan Simmons memorandum. Hooray, a great result! However our problem is that this only ran in the online version of the Courier Mail. So whilst you now know the truth, the vast majority of Qld Health nurses are not yet aware of this back down. Our job is to work with our legal support team to ensure that the memorandum is officially withdrawn so that every Qld Health nurse learns that they can use whomever they like to represent them. That includes NPAQ of course. This could take a few months and we will keep you in the loop.

Let us be clear, we do not want to be a registered industrial organisation. For what it is worth, nurses have received little more than the CPI plus a smidgen pay-rise every year for the last 15 years. Watch that change when we win the next battle and seriously get involved in doing future EBAs for you.

The Executive and Member Support team would like to thank the many encouraging responses and emails we have received over the past 2 weeks. We thank the current 2,043 (at the time of writing) Queensland Health employee members who believed in us by joining in the first place and for showing your confidence that we would overcome this by staying. Same goes to the many members who joined since the memo went out. To the 3 members who chose to resign, we do understand the pressure you were under and we would welcome you back at any time. And lastly, thanks to Queensland Health for communicating so extensively that there is an alternative. While you may not have had all the facts correct we will look forward to that becoming common knowledge.

We most certainly will be escalating pressure on QLD Health and will commence action in the Fair Work Commission. Keep an eye on our newsletter for further updates.

Although the memo has been publicly retracted - we are aware it is still being relied upon in some facilities.

Please ensure that you let us know below.