Thousands of aged care workers across the country will strike on May 10, marking a day of strike action in seven major aged care providers in the workers’ push for employers to address understaffing and a lack of care for aged care residents.
On Wednesday evening a hook-up of aged care worker leaders from the providers endorsed May 10 as the date for national action in their fight for better pay and better conditions.
Altogether strike action will hit eight major providers employing more than 12,000 aged care workers in 160 aged care facilities, caring for about 12,700 residents.
The strike will affect the biggest aged care providers in Queensland (BlueCare), South Australia (Southern Cross Care) and Western Australia (Aegis), along with several other major providers in those states.
“Aged care workers have been forced to take unprecedented strike action because of pay and conditions that are failing workers and failing residents,” United Workers Union Aged Care Director Carolyn Smith said today.
“Aged care workers are fed up with waiting, fed up with Scott Morrison’s incompetence and fed up with employers’ excuses.
“On Wednesday we gave thousands of heartbreaking reports from our whistleblower web site www.agedcarewatch.org.au, describing aged care residents left unshowered, soiled and injured due to a lack of care, to the aged care regulator.
“Every single report was filed after the Royal Commission’s findings and the Budget response.
“Aged care workers were promised the Royal Commission would fix things. It didn’t – in fact things are worse.
“Aged care workers were promised they would be looked after with vaccinations, boosters, RATs and PPE. They weren’t – in fact they were at the back of the queue.
“Aged care workers were left to fend for themselves when Omicron tore through aged care facilities, where more than 1150 aged care residents have died this year.
“Monumental failure by Scott Morrison and his incompetent cricket-prioritising Aged Care Services Minister means aged care workers are being forced to hold their employers accountable.
“Talk to any aged care worker and they are devastated they can’t give the level of care their residents need. They are taking strike action to make sure their employer gives them more time to care.”
About the strike:
Aged care workers will walk off the job in each state around 11.30am, ahead of attending planned strike rallies about 1pm in CBD areas in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
The strikes are legal industrial action after workers in the eight providers voted overwhelmingly in favour of protected strike action as a result of failing to reach acceptable enterprise bargaining agreements.
Each strike will be the subject of notifications to the employer, with the legal requirement of at least three working days to be exceeded in each case. Residents will be cared for during strike action.
Details about providers:
|Residents*||Residents by state||Facility numbers*||Staff**|
|Southern Cross Care||1356||17||1000|
|Hall & Prior***||1017||16||900|
|Churches of Christ||1736||25||2000|
|* Numbers from Aged Care Service List – Australia – as at 30 June 2021|
|** United Workers Union estimates|
|*** Only about a third of facilities involved in vote.|
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