The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is urging MPs and Senators to support new legislation, which includes better options for multi-employer bargaining, saying it would finally help lift wages, improve working conditions and deliver gender-equality across workplaces.
ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said whilst existing bargaining may have been successful in larger, male-dominated industries, workers in fragmented, female-dominated industries, like aged care had continued to suffer – unavailable to achieve any real wage growth.
“Our existing bargaining system is outdated and unfair and severely disadvantages workers in smaller, care industries – nurses and carers working in aged care simply have no power,” Ms Butler said today.
“Many of our members have been ‘locked-out’ under the existing bargaining system and haven’t had a proper wage rise in years, with their conditions deteriorating to the point where more and more workers have abandoned their profession, leaving nursing homes dangerously understaffed.
“The ‘Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill’ is critical in giving nurses and aged care workers access to a collective bargaining system which allows for much-needed wage-growth, improved conditions and increased gender equity across workplaces.
“We need a bargaining system which is fair and equitable for all workers across all industries.
“The ANMF urges MPs and Senators to support this Bill, as we know that providing our members with a secure, quality job will lead to them providing safe, quality care,” Ms Butler said.
ANMF aged care members in Canberra to watch the Bill introduced into the Parliament today, said it would assist in recruiting and retaining workers in nursing homes.
“A casualised workforce has very little industrial clout, very little security to tenure and very little benefits that a full-time employee gets. If this bargaining agreement can addtress those issues, that’s a plus, because it will assist retention in the industry and stop the exodus of skilled care workers from our floor,” NSW Registered Nurse, Glen O’Driscoll said.
“We need to attract more workers in aged care. We’re not going to do that if we’re paying them $25 an hour,” NSW Registered Nurse Stephanie Sullivan, added.
The ANMF, with over 310,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and carers in Australia.