Nurses have had a major win in their prolonged industrial claim, securing not only a 14 per cent pay rise but also a review of soaring parking fees at hospitals.
The WA Industrial Relations Commission ruled yesterday in favour of several Australian Nursing Federation claims, including higher duty allowances for each shift, overtime rates for casual on-call nurses called back in and access to pro rata long service leave after seven years.
But the union's biggest victory was an order for the State Government to review staff parking fee increases at major hospitals such as Royal Perth and Sir Charles Gairdner to "a more reasonable fee structure" and explain the rationale behind the rises.
"I am concerned about the proposed increases to parking costs … Many nurses have no choice but to use private transport given the nature of the shifts," commissioner Jennifer Harrison said.
If the Government and union could not to reach agreement in the next fortnight, the commission would consider whether parking costs needed to be part of the industrial agreement.
But Ms Harrison knocked back the union's claim for a $1000 retention bonus for permanent staff and an increase in casual loadings.
The decision comes 17 months after nurses won a 14 per cent pay rise over three years, secured from the Government during last year's election campaign.
ANF WA secretary Mark Olson was pleased the commission had awarded public nurses and midwives some crucial conditions.
"This is a big win, not only for our members, but for all West Australians because among the rulings, the Barnett Government has to review its outrageous hikes to hospital parking fees," Mr Olson said.
"The commissioner has recognised that nurses and midwives, who work all hours, and the families of sick West Australians should not be fleeced by yet another tax in the form of parking fee increases."
He said other conditions such as granting easier access to leave would take pressure off older nurses and midwives who needed more time off because of the ageing workforce.
Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the Government was reviewing the commission's decision and its implications.