Valley nurses join pay battle

NURSES at two Valley-based aged care homes are joining with thousands of others across NSW in the fight to stop their pay packets from plummeting.

Grafton Aged Care Home and Maclean’s Mareeba Nursing Home are two of 284 aged-care facilities where nurses have been denied an opportunity to negotiate for an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) in the lead-up to a scheduled 20 per cent award rate pay drop.

The pay decrease is set for July, as part of the four-year transition to a lower national award rate, established as part of the Federal Government’s award modernisation process. Nurses not covered by an EBA will only have legal entitlements to the award rate.

This week the NSW Nurses’ Association lodged an application with Fair Work Australia, in the form of a class action, in an attempt to preserve the take-home pay of thousands of nurses.

NSWNA general secretary Brett Holmes said aged-care nursing rates were already ‘significantly’ lower than those of hospitals.

“We cannot afford to have employers taking this opportunity to reduce those wages even further,” Mr Holmes said.

He said Australia was facing a 56 per cent rise in the number of nursing home residents by 2020, which added to the cause to protect the sector’s ‘backbone’– nursing staff.



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