United Workers Union members working for 10 residential aged care providers in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia have endorsed a strike in February next year unless operators pay them more.
The operators facing the strike action, unless a pay deal can be brokered, include Southern Cross Care, Allity, AnglicareSA, Blue Care, Churches of Christ, Helping Hand, Aegis, Regis and Hall & Prior. The providers offer residential aged care at 50 facilities across WA and at 44 facilities across SA.
“Workers are being pushed beyond breaking point by understaffing, impossible workloads and the emotional toll of not having enough time or support to provide the quality of care that residents require,” said Sharron Caddie, director of United Workers Union.
“Aged care workers are also fed up with being ignored by their employers, who have consistently rejected their claims for a meaningful increase in wages and more care time.
“We need appropriate staffing and a workforce that is valued and respected.”
The Fair Work Commission is considering a claim by unions to lift aged care pay by 25% above the current award rate, but final hearings in the case will be not heard until July next year.
The UWU says it is negotiating with providers and is aware that a Federal Election will be held in March or May next year.
Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney said aged care providers supported higher wages for staff and wants the Federal Government to commit to fund wage increases in the upcoming Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO).
Mr Rooney said providers wanted the Government to fully fund any increases in wages.
“Staff have been asked to do more to continue providing high-quality and compassionate care to older, vulnerable Australians,” Mr Rooney told The Australian.