Bupa blue - aged care nurses and carers see red

Media release - Monday 2 October 2017

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About 800 aged care nurses and carers across Victoria will start protected industrial action this week in Bupa’s 26 nursing homes as part of their campaign for improved staffing levels, skill mix and better wages and conditions.

Ongoing action will start from 7am, tomorrow (Tuesday 3 October) at Bupa Ballarat, Bupa Bellarine Lakes, Bupa Berwick, Bupa Caulfield, Bupa Clayton, Bupa Eastwood (Bairnsdale), Bupa Greensborough, Bupa Portland, Bupa South Morang, Bupa Sunshine, Bupa Thomastown and Bupa Woodend.

The remaining Bupa nursing homes will start ongoing action from 7am, Wednesday 4 October at Bupa Barrabool, Bupa Bendigo, Bupa Bonbeach, Bupa Coburg, Bupa Croydon, Bupa Donvale, Bupa Echuca, Bupa Edithvale, Bupa Kyneton, Bupa Mildura, Bupa Templestowe, Bupa Traralgon, Bupa Windsor and Bupa Wodonga.

The first stage of action will include wearing ANMF red Value Recognise Reward campaign t-shirts, handing out campaign materials to residents, relatives and the community and speaking to the media.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) has been trying to negotiate with Bupa management for improved staffing levels, skill mix and better wages and working conditions for 14 months.

ANMF (Vic Branch) Acting Secretary Paul Gilbert said ‘Nurses and carers should not have to fight for staff increases to provide vulnerable elderly Victorians with sufficient clinical nursing and personal care staff and a wage that reflects the value of this work.

‘Nurses and carers only take industrial action as a last resort, but Bupa is not listening to them and they feel stretched and undervalued.’

Bupa’s most recent wage offer would keep its nurses’ and carers’ wages in the bottom 10 per cent of aged care facilities. Bupa has not agreed to other aspects of the ANMF members’ claim including minimum staffing levels, family violence leave, transition to retirement clauses and professional development improvements.

ANMF members are seeking minimum staffing levels of registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers every shift to improve resident care.

Bupa’s Australian and New Zealand operations reported an underlying profit of £344.4 million (approximately AUS$585 million) in 2015-2016. This includes approximately $30 million profit from its aged care business.

Members rejected Bupa management’s most recent wage offer of two 2.5 per cent increases (1 October 2017 and 1 July 2018) in a two-year agreement ending in mid-2019. This would be the only increase in almost three years.

Compared to industry standard rates each week, a registered nurse employed at Bupa earns $91 less ($4732 less per year), an enrolled nurse earns $24 less ($3328 per year) and a carer earns $49 less ($2548 less per year).

ANMF members are seeking a wage rise of around 10 per cent in a four-year agreement, plus catch up rates to meet industry standard rates paid at Bupa’s competitors such as BlueCross, Aged Care Services Australia Group, Arcare and Royal Freemasons and guarantees around minimum staffing and skill mix.

Media inquiries: Robyn Asbury 0417 523 252

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