Bupa Bendigo workers walk off the job

Bendigo was one of nine nursing homes across the state to take part in stop-work meetings this week. Negotiations for a new enterprise agreement have been ongoing since July 2016.  Picture: DARREN HOWE
Bendigo was one of nine nursing homes across the state to take part in stop-work meetings this week. Negotiations for a new enterprise agreement have been ongoing since July 2016. Picture: DARREN HOWE

It was a sea of red outside Bupa Aged Care Bendigo on Wednesday as workers walked off the job in protected industrial action.

Nurses and carers are fighting for improved staffing levels, skill mix and better wages and conditions.

Bupa Bendigo employs 180 staff and has 152 beds.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation industrial officer Sandra Bonavia said at present one registered nurse was rostered on during a night shift for all beds, with a ratio of one personal care worker to 25 residents.

“The key ticket items for us really are an increase wages offer because at the moment Bupa is a big player, it’s got significant profits, and it’s one of the lower paid providers within the aged care industry,” she said.

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The ANMF has also sought an injunction to stop Bupa proceeding with a proposed restructure of senior clinical nursing positions in Victoria, a move Ms Bonavia said would affect all Bupa facilities across the state.

Bupa Aged Care Australia chief nurse Maureen Berry said the company remained committed to bargaining in good faith with the unions to finalise a new enterprise agreement.

“The safety, health and well-being of our residents remains our focus and will not be impacted,” she said. 

“Bupa’s latest offer includes an 11.25 per cent wage increase over three years, and protection of penalty rates including weekend loadings. The AMNF has not accepted this offer.”