Aged care on strike!

Up to 50 aged care workers will take rolling industrial action against their Perth-based employer, in what will be their second staged strike in a week.

By Yasmin Noone

Above: Aged care workers from Carinya of Bicton go on strike

Fed up with their level of pay and angry about their amount of annual leave, up to 50 low paid workers at an aged care facility in Perth will take industrial action against their employer today for the second time this week.

Aged care workers at the Carinya of Bicton facility will walk off the job in a series of rolling four-hour strikes today and tomorrow, in a bid to convince management that they mean action.

The Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) members are looking to achieve a minimum pay increase of $1 per hour every year, to put their pay on par with aged care workers at nearby Braemar Aged Care, which the union says is of a comparable size.

Secretary of the LHMU’s Western Australian branch, Dave Kelly, said that many of its members at Carinya are on $18.66 per hour, while the highest level worker earns $20.77 an hour. This, he said, is in stark contrast to wages for workers at Amana Living aged care facilities are at $20.19 for entry level aged care workers.

“All these workers are asking for is a fairer pay and conditions deal which will see them on similar pay levels to other aged care workers in the industry,” said Mr Kelly. “They also want a week’s annual leave back so they are on a par with the rest of the industry.

“Carinya of Bicton will then find it easier to hold on to experienced and highly-skilled care workers meaning they get a better aged care facility and the residents experience the highest possible levels of care.

“But Carinya are currently going the right way about losing good staff at a rate of knots. They cannot seriously expect their most experienced and skilled workers to accept a pay rise which amounts to just 26c by 2013?

“We want to work with aged care providers across the industry to try and improve wages and issues like resident to carer ratios. But if employers are going to behave like Carinya and ignore their workers, we’re not going to get anywhere.”

The union has been in negotiations with management over the issues for around six months.

LMHU assistant secretary, Carolyn Smith, said that the proposed deal currently on the table would give staff five weeks annual leave, with an extra week hinging on an employee’s willingness to work different shifts across a fortnight block.

The LHMU members however, want their annual leave restored to six and seven weeks and casual loading to remain at 20 per cent for weekend shifts. The union said that under the management’s offer, casual staff will receive 15 per cent loading on the weekend.

Mr Kelly said that initial strike action was taken last Saturday but since then, the LHMU member’s calls for a meeting with management have been ignored.

“We would ask that [management] at least meet with our members to discuss the issues they face rather than stonewalling them. If they continue down this path the members will be forced into taking more strike action.”

AAA approached Carinya of Bicton but management declined to comment.

Tags: aged-care, carinya-of-bicton, lhmu, strike,

1 thought on “Aged care on strike!

  1. Carinya of Bicton, has locked out their workers once again. This time for attending a forum with the PM Julia Gillard. Those that were on shift, had to strike to attend this meeting. Management has given a 14 day lock out to those workers.

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