What: Media event and pic fac
Where: Curtin Heritage Living, 40 Marine Parade, Cottesloe WA 6011
When: Monday 15 May at 9:15 am
Who: Immigration Minister Hon Andrew Giles MP, UWU Aged Care Director Carolyn Smith and aged care workers
Contact: Ash Telford – 0424 375 160
A new scheme to lift care hours for aged care residents and increase the number of aged care workers, has been wholeheartedly welcomed by the United Workers Union (UWU).
UWU believes the measures included in the Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement contain significant safeguards to ensure vulnerable visa workers are protected, as well as giving current workers the first opportunity to address labour shortfalls.
UWU Aged Care Director Carolyn Smith said Labor was elected on an ambitious promise of increasing care hours for aged care residents to 200 minutes a day by October, in line with Royal Commission recommendations.
“The measures are an important step towards addressing the workforce issues in aged care,” Ms Smith said.
“It is a testament to what can be achieved when the Federal Government, unions and employers cooperate to address significant issues such as the significant shortfall in aged care workers.
“We have always said in relation to visa workers, it’s no good introducing new workers who face the same workplace issues of low pay and too much work as those currently facing existing workers.
“These measures address those issues by protecting the pay and conditions of visa workers.
“We have also always said that aged care workers are often working two jobs just to make ends meet.
“Again, today’s measures address the issue of insecure work and low hours by giving current workers a clear pathway to add hours to their rosters if a provider says it has a labour shortfall.”
The announced visa-worker scheme, similar to the existing PALM scheme, included stringent safeguards after Labor entered into a memorandum of understanding with key unions.
Ms Smith said one of the most important aspects of the scheme was the protections offered to visa workers so they feel confident enough to report workplace issues of concern.
“Visa workers who feel totally dependent on a visa and their employer to stay in Australia are placed in a compromised situation when faced with care issues they need to raise in their workplace,” she said.
“In today’s announcement there are important structural measures including giving every visa worker a workplace leader they can report issues to – that give us confidence visa workers will feel confident enough to raise vital issues of care and safety.”
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