The 2016 EBA for Nurses and Midwives applies to more than 100 employers, as does the EBA for nurses and midwives by 2020. For an enterprise agreement to apply to more than one employer, the law requires very strict rules. S.248 of the Fair Work Act 2009, two or more employers may apply to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for authorization (an employer authorization of a single interest) under Section 249 with respect to a proposed enterprise agreement. This request was submitted by employers and supported by the ANMF. The employers, who must be covered by a planned enterprise contract, first had to ask the federal Minister of Labour Relations, Christian Porter, for a declaration allowing them to negotiate together. Minister Porter made this statement on June 12, 2020. ANMF, the Victorian Hospitals` Industrial Association and the Department of Health and Human Services are continuing the work needed to establish a 2020-2024 EBA to replace the 2016-2020 Victorian Public Sectors (EBA Public 2016). This work includes amending the previous agreement to reflect all improvements approved by members at the April 16, 2020 national meeting. All staff will have the opportunity to vote on the final agreement, whether or not you have appointed a representative.
THE ANMF expects HACSU to oppose the election of the EBA 2020, whereas its scope is before the FWC. The vote is a necessary step before the FWC can approve the agreement and it enters into force. For example, a registered or registered nurse who works in an emergency department in an ed-hub and treats people with mental health and alcohol and other drug problems is covered by this agreement because of the work of the competent department as a whole. The history of the 2016 EBA Mental Health dates back to 1997, when the Victorian government of the day “mainstreamed” the psychiatric services it operates in the general hospital system. The seventeen employers covered by the EBA for mental health in 2016 were the employers who took over the operation of these public mental health services. Prior to the inclusion of public mental health employees, including nurses, were government employees. Historically, public psychiatric employees who chose a union were members of the health services union.