Shocking poll results say three in four elderly care workers in Australia plan to quit within the next six months unless offered a hefty raise.
The decision will bring the already troubled sector to the brink of collapse, the Health Services Union revealed in its aged care snapshot report on Tuesday.
With some geriatric nurses earning as little as $22 an hour, the union claimed that the interim pay increase of 15 percent granted two weeks ago by the Fair Labor Commission for direct nurses is not high enough.
The union reiterated its call for a 25 percent increase in the sector’s workforce, as more than 90 percent of the 2,000 workers surveyed said securing the full 25 percent pay rise was “extremely important” to them.
“A full and comprehensive pay rise for the entire sector is beyond urgency,” said HSU National President Gerard Hayes.
“Elderly care is on the verge of mass layoffs that will trigger the collapse of the sector.
“This is not a problem that can be solved by deploying the army or introducing a pay rise; We desperately need a cash injection into workers’ bank accounts,” Hayes said.
“Geriatric nurses deal with abuse, pain and back strains, and they do some of society’s most uncomfortable and demanding jobs.
“And so far they’ve been paid three-fifths the shit, all with pathetic job security.
“Enough is enough, the time for platitudes and criticism is over.
“If we don’t want our elderly to be taken care of by robots and fat frankfurters and jelly, we must commit to funding a full wage increase for all aspects of elderly care,” he said.
A survey participant named Jade said she felt residents deserved a higher standard of care.
“Almost every day I want to cry because I feel like we’re understaffed and undervalued,” she said.
Health Services Union national president Gerard Hayes said workers in aged care were on the brink of mass layoffs that would lead to the collapse of the sector.
“This is not a problem that can be solved by deploying the army or introducing a gradual salary increase,” he said.
“We urgently need an injection of cash into the workers’ bank accounts.”
Mr Hayes said that elderly care staff did some of society’s most unpleasant work while being paid “fuck it all” and described job security in the sector as pathetic.
“Enough is enough,” he said.
“If we don’t want our elderly being cared for by robots and fat frankfurters and jellies, we must commit to funding a full wage increase for all aspects of elder care.”
“Elderly care is on the verge of mass layoffs that will trigger the collapse of the sector. This is not a problem that can be solved by deploying the army or gradually increasing wages. We urgently need an injection of cash into the workers’ bank accounts.
“Elderly caregivers have to deal with abuse, pain and back problems. They do some of society’s most awkward and demanding jobs. And so far they’ve been paid three-fifths the shit, all with pathetic job security.
“Enough is enough. The time for platitudes and criticism is over. Our work value case is absolutely central. If we don’t want our elderly to be served jam by robots and fat frankfurters, we must commit to a full wage increase for all areas of geriatric care workers.”
“I’ve been hit, kicked, spat on, pulled my hair and verbally abused – those times were difficult but nowhere near as difficult as working constantly with extremely tight staffing as wages and conditions make new workers unwilling to enter the industry we have to break in.” A caregiver named Kerry spoke about her challenges.
Another caregiver, Moran, recalled the time they cared for 25 residents “crying inside and in physical pain as I walked around”.
“I’ve received complaints from residents about why they didn’t get their medicines, groceries and routine care on time.”
Nurse Lana said she “gives 100% to every resident every day, but the ‘powers that be’ don’t appreciate the work” they do.
“Every day we put our bodies through hell, berating cops (verbally and physically), wiping tears, wiping butts, cleaning hands, faces, feet and every other part of the body, all in such a short time frame as it seems almost impossible, but we can still do it,” said Lana.
Alan said the most difficult moment for him is “when a resident with dementia hits you because they’re covered in feces and don’t understand why.”
Jade joined the chorus, saying: “Almost every day I want to cry because I feel like we’re understaffed and undervalued, and I always feel like these residents deserve more alone time instead of each other hurry up and then go to the next resident.”
“I think every day is the biggest challenge just because I feel like they deserve more and I can’t give them that because of the aged care system and the lack of staff and wages,” Jade said.
Amy recalled being punched in the abdomen and rupturing her spleen.
Echoing the impact of severe understaffing, Johanna said: “One person looking after the medicines of over 80 people means we don’t have breaks.”
“Waving legs and backs with huge bills for a tiny wage,” Morgen said.
The Albanian government backed the 15 percent increase “for our undervalued and underpaid elderly care workers” during a union conference in Melbourne on Monday.
Originally posted as “Punched and Kicked”: Major Australian industry on brink of collapse as 75 per cent of workers plan to quit