Bupa Ballarat staff go on strike

Nurses at Bupa Ballarat Nursing Home will start strike action over wage negotiations from next week.

Talks between the Australian Nurses and Midwifery Federation and management broke down earlier in the week.

Staff started handing out information to Bupa residents and their families, but threatened they would walk off the job if a deal was not reached.

Industrial action will start from 7am, with staff only working to their rostered time unless overtime is approved in advance in writing.

A five per cent wage increase over 10 months was offered to staff but knocked back.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Victorian Branch Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said people needed to understand the stress created when patient workloads were too high.

“Nurses and carers will be reluctantly stopping work and will ensure this action does not affect the health or welfare of the people in their care,” she said.

“If they do nothing Bupa will cut nursing positions and staffing levels will be even lower.

“The result of getting rid of nurses is not improved patient care, its increased profits.”

Bupa Aged Care Australia chief nurse Maureen Berry said the company was consulting with managers at homes about proposed changes to the clinical management structure.

“The proposal is to create a new role of Clinical Care Manager by consolidating existing Clinical Manager and Care Manager roles,” she said.

“It is important to clarify that any suggestion this proposal is the result of industrial action is false.

“This proposal and the ongoing wage negotiations are separate matters.”

Ms Berry said the proposed changes would allow Bupa to continue to deliver high quality care to residents.

“The care and well-being of residents who choose to live in Bupa aged care homes is our absolute priority,” she said.

“On the separate matter of our wage negotiations with our Victorian workforce, we continue to negotiate in good faith with the Unions.

“Our latest offer includes an 11.25% wage increase over three years, and protection of penalty rates including weekend loadings.

“The ANMF does not accept this offer.”