Nurses in dispute over aged care wages in the Tweed.
Nurses in dispute over aged care wages in the Tweed. Bev Lacey

Nurses worked up over wages

NURSING staff at two Tweed aged-care facilities are at loggerheads with their employers as wage negotiations threaten to deteriorate.

Nurses at Bupa Care Services facilities at Banora Point and Pottsville Beach are among those who have signed off on a resolution calling on the employer to stop stalling and make an offer on pay and conditions.

NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association general secretary Brett Holmes said the union has spent several months attempting to broker a new three-year enterprise agreement with Bupa on behalf of its members to no avail.

Mr Holmes said Bupa had been dragging their feet and had failed to negotiate market competitive pay and conditions for their aged-care nurses.

"In October Bupa cancelled two scheduled meetings and has now indicated they are not prepared to meet again before the end of November," he said.

Mr Holmes said union members at the two facilities had met earlier this month and passed a resolution calling on Bupa to end the delays and make an offer on comparable pay and conditions.

"As a profitable industry leader, it's unacceptable that Bupa's aged-care wages and conditions are sub-standard," Mr Holmes said.

A Bupa spokesperson said the company had been dealing with the union in good faith.

"Nurses are vitally important members of the aged-care workforce and are highly valued within our business," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"We remain very much involved in good-faith negotiations with the unions and are seeking the best outcome for our people.

"We are currently waiting for the union to reply to Bupa's request to meet with them, as part of an ongoing conversation that has occurred over the past few months."

Mr Holmes said the union was concerned about wages and staffing levels at the facilities with a survey of nurses showing 65% of respondents said they were unable to provide quality care most days due to staff shortages while 61% said they struggled to complete their daily tasks as a result of poor staffing.

"Our members in Banora Point and Pottsville Beach 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," Mr Holmes said.

"We are seeking a commitment on minimum staffing levels and remuneration that brings Bupa wages in line with those paid across aged care."

Bupa Care Services is the state's third largest aged-care provider with more than 2700 residential places at 29 facilities.


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