In a second day of industrial action, aged care workers in South Australia and Queensland are walking off the job this week in support of improved pay and increased staffing.
Friday’s strike follows an earlier protest on 10 May when workers from five major facilities in Queensland and Western Australia walked off the job.
“Given the failures of the Federal Government, aged care workers are again walking off the job after last week’s unprecedented strike action across the country,” said United Workers Union aged care director Carolyn Smith. “They are telling their employers it’s time for them to take responsibility.”
The strike comes as government statistics show that COVID is killing more than 60 aged care residents a week. All up, official figures show there have been 1,148 COVID deaths in residential aged care homes so far this year.
“The Omicron crisis continues to play havoc with active outbreaks in more than 750 aged care facilities – distressing locked-up aged care residents, devastating families and causing unbearable workloads for aged care workers,” said Ms Smith.
There exists a public perception that the country is post-COVID, said Ms Smith, “but for aged care workers working double shifts in full PPE there has been no let up and the aged care crisis is in full swing.”
She added: “How can we lose more than 350 senior Australians to COVID since the election campaign was launched and no-one is talking about this?”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and aged care services Minister Richard Colbeck need to be held to account, said Ms Smith. They have “failed in their responsibilities in aged care repeatedly, and those failures continue.”