At rallies across the country on 12 May, the nurses’ union kicked off a national campaign to win nurse-resident ratios in aged care. While ratios currently set minimum staffing levels in Australia’s childcare centres and public hospitals, there are no minimum staff-resident ratios in most of the aged care sector.
After a long fight, Victorian aged care nurses and carers have notched a solid win in their dispute with health industry multinational BUPA. In September, union members across BUPA’s 26 Victorian aged care facilities started a campaign of industrial action over the terms of a new enterprise agreement. Significantly, the nurses and carers carried out a number of full shift stoppages over the course of the dispute.
Aged care nurses and personal carers at one of the country’s most profitable aged care providers are taking action for improved wages and conditions. Bupa workers across the health industry giant’s 26 Victorian aged care centres have been fighting for a new enterprise agreement since 2016.
Victorian public sector nurses are gearing up for their 2016 enterprise agreement campaign. A statewide meeting of around 1,000 delegates on 23 March heard reports on the progress of negotiations with the Victorian Hospitals’ Industrial Association.
Federal government funding changes have abolished the distinction between high care and low care nursing home residents. NSW is currently the only Australian state with legislation requiring that nursing homes with high care residents have a registered nurse (division 1) on site 24 hours a day. Scrapping the demarcation between high and low care residents makes this requirement meaningless.
For five years I’ve worked as an endorsed enrolled nurse. For most of that time, I’ve worked in private aged care facilities. A few weeks ago I moved to the public sector. The difference between the two is like night and day.