Negotiations are now well under way with private aged care providers for improved wages, staffing levels and working conditions for about 11,000 Victorian aged care members.
A number of other negotiations will start in the first half of 2022 for TLC Aged Care, Mercy Health Residential Aged Care, Doutta Galla Aged Care Services, Mecwacare, Opal HealthCare, Villa Maria Catholic Homes, Benetas, Australian Unity and Hope Aged Care. This represents a further 4500 members.
We are currently in discussions with Blue Cross, Uniting Agewell, Estia, Royal Freemasons and Allity, with Regis about to start soon. Many smaller stand-alone providers and small networks have already had preliminary meetings.
ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said ‘We’ve been pressing providers about the key recommendations from the aged care royal commission – providing the 200 care minutes per resident per day, paying nurses and carers better and providing better training and professional development. The royal commission found that aged care nurses and carers are under-staffed, under-valued and underpaid – that is what we have been hammering home.
‘The circumstances for this round of bargaining are more difficult than normal, with a new funding system due to begin in October 2022, a federal election due sometime in the next six months and a promised revamp of the Aged Care Act (including the mandated staffing) by mid-2023. Employers are very cautious about committing to longer Agreements, given all of these changes as well as the continuing effects of COVID-19.
‘But nurses and carers deserve better, so we need to make the case. To make decent progress members will need to really engage in the campaign – please come to ANMF meetings when they are called, become a Job Rep or Health and Safety Rep, talk to your colleagues about the claims and tell your employers you want a fair deal.
‘While we campaign for the government to fix aged care urgently, the enterprise bargaining process gives union members another opportunity to improve wages and staffing levels,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.
While it is early, there have been some offers and some agreements moving to ballot, including Japara (which is being sold to Calvary Healthcare). Members accepted 2.75 per cent per year for two years as well as increases in paid parental leave from four to six weeks. Other offers still being worked through from Homestyle, Arcare and a number of smaller providers in the range of 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent per year, usually for agreements of two or three years duration.
The log of claims will be adapted for each employer depending on the current enterprise agreement. Members will have an opportunity to contribute to their log of claims via our ‘virtual’ meetings. Members will be notified about meetings via text message and email.
If members have an urgent workplace issue or ideas for claims email ANMF via email@example.com clearly identifying your employer and workplace.