Oct 12, 2017

Bupa Aged Care Workers Continue Strike for Better Wages and Work Conditions

The second stage of the protected industrial action commenced on Monday 9 October and has occurred in 9 Bupa facilities across Victoria.

Overall, approximately 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.

Nurses and carers at five Bupa nursing homes have held stop work meetings on Monday and Tuesday. Members at Bupa Ballarat, Bupa Clayton, Bupa Edithvale, Bupa South Morang and Bupa Portland have all protested outside their facilities.

While the other 4 stop work meetings were held Wednesday, more intend to be scheduled for next week.

“They are well supported by members, residents, their families, and other union members both ANMF and others,” ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick told HelloCare.

What are they striking for?

“The biggest issues are wages – to be in line with other PAC Victorian providers.  Importantly we are also seeking to improve the staffing numbers particularly in [night duty]”, which is currently at 1 nurse to 24 residents, “as well as the dementia units.”

The key issues are wages and workloads. It’s been 17 months since staff last received a pay rise. There has also been a call to action for unsafe workloads fixed, unplanned leave replaced and nursing redundancies to stop.

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.

ANMF (Vic Branch) reported on industry standard rates each week, where 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).

Bupa’s Australian and New Zealand businesses reported a $585 million profit last year – and approximately $45 million in aged care alone.

“ANMF is still seeking improved staffing levels, the replacement of unplanned leave such as sick leave and the withdrawal of the proposed senior clinical nursing redundancies.”

“We are also in the Federal Court seeking to make BUPA consult about the multitude of RN redundancies they are pushing to implement in their facilities nationwide.”

ANMF has initiated proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia seeking an injunction to stop Bupa proceeding with its proposed restructure of senior clinical nursing positions in Victoria.

As a part of the industrial action, Bupa Clayton, Bupa Ballarat, Bupa Edithvale, Bupa Portland, Bupa South Morang, Bupa Bendigo, Bupa Mildura, Bupa Sunshine and Bupa Thomastown are participating in the following stage two bans:

  1. A ban on the completion of any paperwork or electronic forms related to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI), with no retrospective completion of such paperwork. Note – this is distinct from clinical paperwork in the resident history.
  2. Finishing and commencing duty at the rostered times unless overtime is approved, in writing, in advance.

Bupa Greensborough, Bupa Eastwood and Bupa Bellarine will start next week.

Timeline of Events

April 2016 – 1.75 per cent pay rise. This was the last pay rise that Bupa Aged Care Staff have received.

December 2016 – 2.1 per cent of staff were in a one-year agreement 

April 2017 – Increase to 2.3 per cent of staff that were in a one-year agreement 

August 2017 – There were two wage rises of 2.5 per cent each in a two-year agreement – effectively the only rises in a three year period. There was no back pay reported.

September 2017 – 11.25 per cent were in a three-year agreement, back pay from 1 September 2017.

The proposed breakdown would be:

  • 2.75% from 1 September 2017
  • 2.50% from 1 July 2018
  • 2.50% from 1 July 2019
  • 1% from 1 October 2019
  • 2.50% from 1 July 2020

In the same week, Bupa notified it was proposing nursing position redundancies across all of its 70 nursing homes.

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