Hundreds of nurses and carers rallied outside Bupa’s Melbourne office today to demand better pay and higher staffing levels.
Almost 400 staff from Bupa’s 26 Victorian nursing homes took part in today’s rally and staff from across the state will hold stop work meetings next week to consider strike action as part of their unprecedented 23 days of protected industrial action
Speaking at the rally, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation state secretary Lisa Fitzpatric called on Bupa to put people above profits and pay nurses a fair wage.
“We want wages that reflect what nurses are being paid in other private aged-care nursing homes in Victoria,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.
“And we want Bupa and all other nursing homes to introduce safe staffing levels of nurses and carers not just here in Victoria but across the country.”
Bupa has around 7000 residents across Australia in its aged-care division.
A Bupa spokesman said the agreement recently offered to the union was fair and the company was disappointed the union decided to take industrial action.
“We continue to negotiate in good faith with the unions, our latest offer includes an 11.25 per cent wage increase over three years and protection of penalty rates including weekend loadings,” the spokesman said.
“We respect the right of employees to take protected industrial actions and we have ensured the safety, health and wellbeing of our residents is not impacted.”
ANMF assistant state secretary for Victoria Pip Carew said workloads were too high and staff levels too low to offer the quality of care residents should rightly expect.
“The problem for our members in these facilities is that they have an extremely heavy work-load, they’re currently paid in the lowest 10 per cent of aged-care workers,” Ms Carew said.
“We’ve been in negotiations for a very long period of time our members in these facilities haven’t had a pay increase since April 2016.”
The union has been negotiating a new enterprise agreement with Bupa since July 2016 and the next meeting before the Fair Work Commission is scheduled for 31 October.