Nurses and care workers at 13 of Bupa’s aged care facilities in Victoria have entered the third day of strikes and given notice the action will continue next week.
Rolling strikes started across half of Bupa’s 26 Victorian nursing homes on Tuesday with nurses and carers striking for their whole morning or afternoon shifts on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Around one or two workers are walking off a morning and an afternoon shift across the 13 facilities with the strongest participation reported at Bupa Sunshine, where more workers have walked off some shifts, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) told Australian Ageing Agenda.
The action follows almost 400 nurses and carers from all of Bupa’s aged care facilities in Victoria rallying outside Bupa’s corporate Melbourne office last Wednesday.
The industrial action in Victoria is part of Bupa workers’ campaign for increased staffing levels and better wages.
The union has been negotiating a new enterprise bargaining agreement for nurses and carers with Bupa management since July 2016, with the two parties currently undergoing mediation with Fair Work Australia as they seek a resolution.
Bupa nurses and carers are seeking increased staffing levels and a commitment to replace all planned leave, the union said.
ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said while residents have increasingly complex nursing needs there were fewer nurses.
“Aged care nurses and carers striking for the very first time is evidence something is deeply wrong with the aged care system and the way employers choose to roster staff,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.
Bupa Aged Care Australia chief nurse Maureen Berry said the provider was disappointed the union felt this level of industrial leverage was warranted given it was negotiating in good faith.
“We respect the right of employees to take protected industrial action and we have ensured the safety, health and wellbeing of our residents is not impacted,” Ms Berry told Australian Ageing Agenda.
She said a comprehensive plan was in place to ensure that residents were cared for appropriately as the union and their members take this action.
“It is very important to note that there is only a very minimal number of union members per home who have decided to take this course of action and that there has been no impact to the care we provide our residents,” Ms Berry said.
Nurses and carers from Bupa Ballarat, Bupa Caulfield, Bupa Coburg, Bupa Clayton, Bupa Donvale, Bupa Eastwood, Bupa Greensborough, Bupa Mildura, Bupa Portland, Bupa Sunshine, Bupa Templestowe, Bupa Thomastown, and Bupa Woodend are participating in the strike action, the union said.
Strike action will be put on hold over the weekend but the rolling strikes will continue next week, the ANMF (Victorian Branch) told AAA.
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