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Byron Shire
May 19, 2022

Aged care workers to strike over ‘years of neglect’

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The United Workers Union (UWU) have said that an unprecedented aged care strike across Australia tomorrow is the inevitable result of years of neglect of aged care residents and aged care workers.

The UWU said today that workers in six major providers with more than 130 facilities and caring for 11,000 aged care residents will go on strike tomorrow in support of their claims for increased pay and staffing levels, walking off the job ahead of major CBD rallies.

Aged Care Director, United Workers Union, Carolyn Smith said this morning that when aged care workers walk off the job tomorrow they are doing so because they feel they have no option but to take strike action.

Shocking conditions inside aged care facilities

‘When the Aged Care Royal Commission released its first report way back in October 2019 it was called “Neglect” because of shocking conditions inside aged care facilities.

‘Now more than a year after the final Royal Commission report that was supposed to fix things, aged care workers report conditions inside aged care facilities are the worst they have ever seen.

Smith said that more than 1,350 people have died of COVID in aged care this year as aged care workers endured bungles with RAT tests, delays with boosters and PPE, and a bonus program mired in red tape.

Working in a garbage bag

‘Aged care workers have been pushed to do double and triple shifts, facing dire conditions in PPE that one aged care worker described as ‘just like working in a garbage bag with a firehose up it’.

‘But Covid was just the latest burden in an aged care system already in crisis.

‘Aged care workers report aged care residents are frustrated, upset and humiliated as they wait too long to be showered, too long for soiled pads to be changed and too long, sometimes, even to be fed.

‘All this while aged care workers earn some of the lowest wages in Australia.

Smith said she spoke to an aged care worker last week whose hourly rate topped out at $24.89 after working for 20 years as a personal care worker – or an annual salary of just under $49,000.

‘She was called three times on Thursday with her employer pleading with her to come in to work on her day off.

Sick of providers blaming the Federal Government

‘Her salary is so low she works every single weekend so she can pay her mortgage – but as a result, can’t see her early-school-age grandson as much as she would like.

‘Like many others, she is taking strike action today because she’s sick of providers wringing their hands and blaming the Federal Government.

‘Aged care workers are also sick of Scott Morrison and his incompetent aged care services minister blaming everyone else but themselves for an aged care system they should be ashamed of.

‘When aged care workers say they are going on strike for their aged care residents, they mean it.

‘They are sick of seeing their providers settle for a system where the basic dignity of older Australians has been ignored for too long, and they are taking strike action to do something about it.’


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2 COMMENTS

  1. These conditions wouldn’t have anything to do with jab mandates and loss of staff who value their own choice of healthcare? Interesting how there’s similar issues with the medical industry and teachers at the moment.

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With the floods still on the mind of those impacted in the Shire’s north, a local charity and its partners have launched an interactive online map of the Brunswick River to raise awareness and hopefully bring it back to full health.