Doctors, nurses strike pay deals for 1.5 per cent increases with WA Government
In a significant win for the West Australian Government, agreements for new pay deals have been reached with the state's doctors and nurses.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA), the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) and United Voice have agreed to accept a pay rise of 1.5 per cent.
It is less than what was being sought, with the AMA having sought more than 6 per cent over three years and the ANF saying in April that 1.5 per cent was unlikely to be acceptable.
However, the AMA has described the deal as a good outcome in the current economic climate.
The AMA's agreement runs for three years, while those for the nurses and enrolled nurses run for two years.
State Health Minister John Day said the deals were realistic and would help ensure the Government could retain and attract high quality staff.
"That does indicate an appreciation of the changed economic circumstances that we have, compared to three or four years ago," Mr Day said.
"The Government has been very firm that a 1.5 per cent increase is the maximum that would be provided, slightly higher than the rate of inflation.
Mr Day admitted there had been some "quite robust" discussions at times.
"There hasn't been any worsening of economic circumstances [lately], but there's been very effective negotiations undertaken by the Health Department," he said.
The in-principle deals affect nearly 40,000 workers in the state's health sector and follow a resolution with the Health Services Union earlier this year, with the final wording of the agreements yet to be determined.
There had been speculation the ANF had been deliberately stalling negotiations ahead of the March election, after the union secured a 14 per cent pay rise over three years in the lead-up to the 2013 election.
The last enterprise bargaining agreement for nurses and midwives expired on June 30, with Mr Day having revealed in July that it would not be backdated, leaving 15,000 out of pocket.
The State Government's wages policy restricts pay rises to 1.5 per cent per annum.
Source: ABC News online