Nurses represented by the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland Inc. (NPAQ) have been denied proper representation in crucial Enterprise Agreement negotiations after an official was refused entry to a bargaining meeting last week...
5 July 2018
Nurses denied proper representation in EA negotiations by Wesley Hospital
Nurses represented by the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland Inc. (NPAQ) have been denied proper representation in crucial Enterprise Agreement negotiations after an official was refused entry to a bargaining meeting last week.
The NPAQ has launched immediate action in the Fair Work Commission seeking orders to reverse the decision.
“This is an outrageous attempt to stifle the voice of our members at the bargaining table, as we strive to negotiate better pay and conditions for them,” said Jack McGuire, NPAQ Secretary.
The almost 200 NPAQ members, who work at the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane and other UnitingCare Health facilities throughout Queensland, are part of negotiations involving their employer, UnitingCare Health, and the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union (QNMU), to replace the current Enterprise Agreement.
Just hours before a meeting last week, the NPAQ was told by UnitingCare Health that a second official would not be allowed into the meeting, arguing it was “not necessary” and would not be “in the interests of efficient bargaining”.
UnitingCare Health instead wants to quarantine NPAQ from the main bargaining meeting. The NPAQ have responded by lodging a claim in the Fair Work Commission.
While the NPAQ has been restricted to just one person in the negotiations, the QNMU is allowed 11 representatives, while UnitingCare Health has nine.
“Having just one point of contact for so many employees during such important ongoing negotiations is not fair to our members, and does not allow for flexibility should our one representative not be able to attend a meeting,” said Mr McGuire.
“Our nurses deserve better, and deserve to have a strong voice at the bargaining table.”
Mr McGuire said under bargaining rules, NPAQ members are allowed two delegates in meetings and has lodged an Application for a Bargaining Order in the Fair Work Commission to have the ban lifted.
“The law is perfectly clear - any employee can appoint anybody to represent them in EA negotiations,” he said.
Mr McGuire stated, “in my opinion, the whole charade reeks of collusion between the QNMU and UnitingCare Health.” He continued, “In fact, we have lodged documents with the Fair Work Commission to overturn UnitingCare’s actions and the QNMU looks to be opposing us.
“To deny our members adequate and proper representation at the bargaining table is in breach of Freedom of Association rules, which clearly state that workers can have the freedom to be represented, or not represented, by industrial associations.
“It seems to me that UnitingCare Health, and maybe even the QNMU, don’t want us, as the ‘new kid on the block’, to have a voice for our members.”
For more information or comment, please contact