NPAQ told it can't represent members

Domanii Cameron, The Courier-Mail

March 26, 2019 10:00pm

According to the memo, the Nurses’ Professional Association of Queensland cannot represent or advocate on behalf of an employee in relation to an employment matter.

The union has slammed the Government, claiming nurses have been left vulnerable because they no longer have a choice of who represents them.

“It’s just free rein for HR managers to treat nurses however they like,” NPAQ assistant secretary Jack McGuire said.

“We are appealing to the heart of our Premier, who holds the welfare of 40,000 nurses in her hands.”

NPAQ was established five years ago as an alternative to the powerful Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union, and has been vocal about several issues plaguing hospitals including ambulance ramping.

It has since garnered almost 4000 members, spread relatively evenly between the private and public hospitals.

According to the memo, which was distributed by acting chief Human Resources officer Silven Simmons to Hospital and Health Service chief executives on March 13, NPAQ is not an employee organisation under the Industrial Relations Act 2016.

“(NPAQ) does not have standing to be a union party in any grievance/dispute resolution process set out in these industrial instruments and is not permitted to display any material in the workforce that may imply it is entitled to represent the industrial interests of employees,” it read.

“The NPAQ cannot represent or advocate on behalf of an employee in relation to an employment matter.”

However NPAQ claimed it didn’t have to be registered under the Act to represent members.

“This isn’t about politics, it is a simple matter of choice – and the ball is in the Premier’s court,” Mr McGuire said.

“She can back the nurses, or she can say and do nothing and thereby effectively back poor Queensland Health management.

“There is no third position.”

The union said it is considering legal action through the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, however is hoping the matter could be dealt with sooner.

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.”

 

QLD Health Memo from Silven Simmons

Original Article published in the Courier Mail 26 March 2019