Urgent Newsflash: In December 2017, Laureate International Universities (Laureate) informed nurses they will not be renewing the enterprise agreement that provides the wages and employment conditions for staff recently transferred from Careers Australia. Staff have been advised they will be required to agree to individual and confidential contracts of employment thereby losing the protection and rights under the current collective agreement. This is despite a commitment by Laureate just a few months ago that wages and conditions would be protected upon the transfer from Careers Australia to Laureate.
Laureate’s refusal to bargain for a new agreement will leave nurses with few rights and protections at the workplace. For example, the Fair Work Commission (the national industrial umpire) does not recognise individual contracts of employment. Therefore, nurses who have disputes about their contract may be required to undertake expensive and time-consuming litigation in the courts to ensure their rights under the contracts are protected. Further, nearly all nurses in Australia are protected by collective agreements, which are regularly reviewed and updated in negotiations with employers and their nursing staff. Laureate’s decision not to renew the collective agreement is inconsistent with the approach taken by the vast majority of employers in Australia and is without justification.
The New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association, Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation has advised the employer we are opposed to this change and wish to meet to discuss the terms of a new collective agreement. Laureate has rejected this.
Consequently, we are calling on all nurses to support a campaign to reject individual contracts and to support a new collective agreement that will provide nurses with transparent and fair wages and employment conditions.
We note Laureate is demanding nurses sign the individual contracts by 16 February. We are urging nurses to refuse this demand. Importantly if you do not sign the employment contract, you will remain protected by the collective agreement. It is illegal for an employer to coerce or pressure an employee to give up their right to a collective agreement. Your union will vigorously oppose any attempts by Laureate to terminate your collective agreement.
Please discuss this important issue with your nursing colleagues and urge them to support the campaign.
If you wish to discuss this issue please contact Nick Blake on 03 9602 8500.
Authorised by Annie Butler, Acting Federal Secretary