Warrnambool Base Hospital nurses meet in the hospital foyer yesterday as part of an industrial dispute. WARRNAMBOOL nurses have been told they will be docked four hours’ pay for holding a meeting at Warrnambool Base Hospital on Wednesday.
Nanjing Night Net

The nurses met to discuss their concerns after plans to strike were abandoned on Tuesday night.

More nurses gathered again yesterday morning and Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) Victorian secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said they had been told later in the day their pay would be docked four hours for attending Wednesday’s meeting.

“We’re trying to contain this dispute,” she said.

“We do know the nurses and midwives are committed to their community.

“In 1986, nurses striked for 50 days and that action was not at the behest of the union.

“This is now going into its ninth month. There has never been a dispute like it.”

Ms Fitzpatrick said if there was to be any way forward, the state government needed to agree to an independent tribunal.

In a statement released to The Standard South West Healthcare CEO John Krygger said under the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 employees who participate in ‘unprotected’ industrial action cannot be paid during the period of industrial action, and the employer must withhold a minimum of four hours’ pay, even where the period of industrial action was less than four hours.

“South West Healthcare is required to comply with these directions and in fact may be subject to legal action or penalties for failing to do so,” he said.

More than 1000 nurses who’ve taken part in rolling work stoppages will be docked up to 20 hours’ pay , the Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association (VHIA) said.

Work bans are meanwhile continuing at up to 15 public hospitals, in defiance of a Federal Court ruling to stop industrial action and return to work, a course their union supports. The dispute between the ANF and health authorities will return to court on today .

VHIA chief executive Alec Djoneff said he was “mystified” the nurses were continuing to strike, since the association announced it would consider independent arbitration in a bid to end the dispute.

But the VHIA could not consider the union’s demands while work stoppages continued. with AAP

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