The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has slammed Bupa Care Services for failing to negotiate in good faith market competitive pay and conditions for its aged care nurses.
For several months, the NSWNMA has attempted to broker a new three-year enterprise agreement with Bupa Care Services on behalf of its members to no avail.
In October Bupa cancelled two scheduled meetings and called for a pause in negotiations.
NSWNMA members are calling on Bupa to end the delays and make an offer on comparable pay and conditions.
General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, said the state’s third largest aged care provider had dragged its feet during negotiations.
“We are seeking a commitment on minimum staffing levels and remuneration that brings Bupa wages in line with those paid across aged care,” Mr Holmes said.
“Our members are stressed and burning out because Bupa wants to cap the amount it spends on wages and conditions, while it continues to reap millions of dollars in annual profits.”
The NSWNMA has established a Facebook page for Bupa nurses, which lists Bupa aged care homes that have been short staffed in the preceding days. Between eight and 17 Bupa sites can be named in one post.
According to a NSWNMA survey of Bupa nurses, 65 per cent of respondents said they were unable to provide quality care most days due to staff shortages. A further 61 per cent said they struggled to complete their daily tasks as a result of poor staffing.
Bupa Care Services is one of the only aged care providers in NSW without a process to address understaffing, workload problems or staff absences in its Enterprise Agreement.
“Nursing wages are significantly behind other aged care providers and their public counterparts. Registered Nurses (RNs) and Assistants in Nursing (AiNs) are paid less, and unlike many other aged care facilities, AiNs have the added responsibility of administering medications without receiving any additional pay for those duties,” Mr Holmes said.
“As a profitable industry leader, it’s unacceptable that Bupa’s aged care wages and conditions are sub-standard.”
With 29 aged care facilities and over 2,700 residential places throughout NSW, Mr Holmes said it was paramount Bupa Care Services resumed negotiations with the NSWNMA and allowed nursing staff the ability to provide the highest quality care to residents.
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