Bupa Ballarat industrial action: residents remain priority

DISPUTED: Bupa Ballarat Nursing Home could see staff walking off the job if negotiations over pay don't resume this week. Pictures: Kate Healy

DISPUTED: Bupa Ballarat Nursing Home could see staff walking off the job if negotiations over pay don't resume this week. Pictures: Kate Healy

Resident health and safety at a Bupa Ballarat nursing home will remain a priority despite industrial action over wage conditions.

Aged care nurses at Bupa Ballarat have threatened to walk off the job in pursuit of better wages and conditions.

Industrial action started with staff wearing protest shirts and handing out information to residents and their families at Bupa nursing home on Tuesday.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Ballarat organiser Allan Townsend said staff would strike if management did negotiate a better pay deal.

“The issue is Bupa pay rates for nurses and carers are already $50 to $90 less than the industry standards,” he said.

“Other providers are offering 10 per cent over a four year agreement – but they already pay four per cent higher than what Bupa is paying.

“I would expect they do come back to the table very quickly because they won’t want the negative publicity.

“In the healthcare industry we always make sure people are safe, so we never put anyone at risk when we take action.”

The federation said in a press release registered nurses employed at Bupa earned $4732 less, enrolled nurses $3328 less and a carers $2548 less per year than staff at other nursing homes.

Bupa Ballarat Nursing Home offers residential, respite and specialised dementia care for its residents on Smythes Road at Delacombe 

BIG SHOW: Bupa nursing staff will be handing out information to patients and their families in protest over wages at the company.

BIG SHOW: Bupa nursing staff will be handing out information to patients and their families in protest over wages at the company.

The home did not comment went contacted by The Courier.

However Bupa Aged Care Australia chief nurse Maureen Berry said in a written statement the health of residents would not be affected by industrial action.

“Bupa’s latest offer included a five per cent increase to wages over 10 months and protection of employee conditions including penalty rates,” the statement said.

“We remain committed to bargaining in good faith with the Unions to finalise a new enterprise agreement for our Victorian workforce.

“Bupa is committed to delivering high quality care to our 7000 residents and this means offering our people who deliver that care a competitive and sustainable employment agreement, including fair pay, training and development opportunities.”