Sunday 15th May 2005
‘We deserved a fair share … and won it!’
Tina Heath, RN at the RSL Veterans’ Retirement Village, Collaroy, says aged care nurses deserve the pay rise.
‘Our workloads have increased significantly for a number of reasons and nurses have higher skill levels. Residents have more complex care needs because the age of residents is increasing. Ten years ago, the average age of residents entering a home was 75 years, now it is 85. Family expectations are also higher, and technology is more complex and requires higher skill levels. Government requirements have also pushed our paperwork through the roof.’
‘Step to addressing shortages but we need stronger union’
Lorraine Read, DON at Bethel Nursing Home in Ashfield, says the pay rise is a strong step to addressing the problems of retaining and attracting good nurses.
‘We can’t get good staff if we can’t pay them a decent wage. We achieved the pay rise because we had the strength of the union behind us. People who can’t see the value of being a member of the Association are very foolish. They don’t realise that they need to be a member of the NSWNA to build a stronger, more professional sector.
Case proves valuable role of AiNS
Lynette Flanagan, AIN at Pioneer House Nursing Home, said AiNs were devastated when their employers tried to claim they were worth less than other nurses.
‘We deliver the day-to-day care to residents. We work very hard and we deserve to be recognised with a fair pay rise. It was a big relief when the Commission acknowledged this. It’s also important AiNs resist pressure from their employers to reclassify to CSEs. We need to be hold on to our nursing title so we’re not devalued. We’re nurses and we want to be recognised as such.’
‘Employers can afford to pay a fair wage’
Lucille McKenna, DoN at Palm Grove Nursing Home, is very happy with the Commission’s decision but warns members to watch out for employers that try to cut hours to compensate for the pay rise.
‘After hearing the evidence in the Commission I know they can afford to pay nurses fairly. Especially since Anglican Retirement Villages has agreed to pay their nurses an extra 7% on top of the rise. If one can afford to pay decent wages, they all can – they all get the same funding. We work extremely hard and give a lot of ourselves – we should be paid fairly.’