365 days ago ANF (Vic. branch) members attended the first meeting of the 2011 EBA campaign. The members resolved that:

this mass meeting of members of the Australian Nursing Federation (Vic Branch) having heard a report back from the Secretary on progress of EBA negotiations hereby resolve as follows:
1. To call on the Baillieu Government to respect our work and reach agreement with the ANF to protect and
expand nurse to patient ratios, provide a minimum 18.5% wage increase over 4 years and address other
essential elements of our claim; and
2. To endorse the commencement of the following protected industrial action from 7.00am Thursday 10
November 2011as applicable to our respective workplaces:
a. in all areas except mental health, a ban on the collection and entry of any data that is not required by
law to be entered into the patient record and a refusal to record, collect and complete data required by the
employer, in the nature of:
• outcome measures,
• vehicle log books,
• invoicing,
• statistical data,
• contact sheets,
• daily returns/bed movements,
• pre, intra and post-operative data not required by law,
• staff attendance, including in relation to attendance or non-attendance at ANF meetings,
• staff industrial activity reports, including the recording of industrial action by means of asking
or answering of questions in relation to the industrial action.
provided that the ban and refusal will not otherwise threaten to endanger anyone’s personal safety, or their
life, health or welfare.
b. mental health ANF Members to refuse to record, collect and complete any mandatory data required by
the employer including outcome measures, vehicle log books, statistical data, contact sheets, PR 1s, 2s
and 5s, and any non-clinical/administrative paper work, including in relation to staff attendance, or nonattendance
at ANF meetings; and staff industrial activity reports, including the recording of industrial action
by means of asking or answering of questions in relation to the industrial action.
provided that the ban and refusal will not otherwise threaten to endanger anyone’s personal safety, or their
life, health or welfare.
c. mental health ANF Members to refuse to attend and participate in any meeting of service activity that is
not fully back filled and refuse to attend and participate in any non-clinical meeting or activity.
d. all members will wear t-shirts, badges and stickers relating to the proposed enterprise agreement, and
distribute and post union campaign materials, written communications and stickers in support of the
proposed enterprise agreement, and to engage with media, staff, patients, visitors, residents and their
families about the proposed agreement.
e. all members to ban the completion of any paperwork and electronic forms in aged care facilities (including
ACFI/RCS documentation) other than that which is directly related to the documenting of resident care and
which otherwise threatens to endanger anyone’s personal safety or their life, health or welfare.
f. all members will commence and finish duty at the rostered times and ban the working of overtime unless
that overtime is approved by the Employer, in writing, in advance of the overtime commencing, provided
that the ban and refusal to work overtime will not otherwise threaten to endanger anyone’s personal safety,
or their life, health or welfare
3. To meet again on Friday 11 November 2011 at Festival Hall at 2.00pm to hear a further report back and
consider what action needs to be taken in the event that an acceptable offer is not made to Victorian nurses
and midwives.
CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (source)

Though the government’s Log of Claims was a little more alarming than usual, with its focus on employee flexibility, at this point I (as a rank-and-file member) had no idea that it was going to go any differently than the EBA and Award negotiations I’d helped fight for over the past two decades – for some reason, even though Victoria’s nurses and midwives have every time demonstrated our collective will, every State government makes us take action before settling down to negotiate.

I, and many other members, assumed it would be the same this time – a few days, or even a couple of weeks of closed beds, which is inevitably the only action that makes an impact; perhaps an escalation in  bed closure goals (we usually start with a 1 in 4 aim then raise this to 1 in 3), then agreement to reopen the beds in exchange for genuine negotiation.

I haven’t spoken about this with ANF staff, so though I know they were taken by surprise by just how protracted and bitter things got, I don’t know if they suspected things would be different this time around, nor when they discovered that our 2011 campaign would break records and make history.

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