Mackay nurses rally for fair wages 

Published: 25 October 2021

Mackay aged care staff will today hold a rally to protest the low wage offer and call for improved pay and conditions for employees at Glenella Care private aged care facility.

These conditions are currently contributing to the facility’s inability to attract and retain nursing staff to care for residents.

Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union (QNMU) Mackay Organiser Sharon Eaton said as part of an Enterprise Bargaining (EB) process currently underway, staff and QNMU representatives recently asked Glenella management to consult with facility owners to improve staff numbers as well as pay, conditions and entitlements for staff. 

Ms Eaton congratulated Glenella staff on the brave decision to highlight conditions and rally outside the facility from 2pm on Monday 25 October. 

Staff will rally before and after their shifts and residents will not be left unattended. 

Staff said they were deeply saddened to resort to a public protest in order to ensure safe staff levels and adequate pay and conditions.

Glenella employees are currently working through meal breaks, starting early and staying late to meet demand. In addition, facility owners ANNIMACI Pty Ltd recently offered staff a pay rise of just 45 cents per hour (1.5%) with no paid parental leave. 

Ms Eaton said the owners had since offered an increase to around 75 cents per hour (2.5%) and four weeks paid maternity leave. Negotiations are ongoing. Employees seek an increase of around $1.05 per hour (3.5%) and six weeks paid parental leave. 
“Glenella staff love this facility and are proud to work here,’’ Ms Eaton said.

“However, like many other private aged care facilities throughout Queensland and Australia, staff are being forced to consider leaving due to incredibly low rates of pay and poor conditions.

Ms Eaton said Glenella staff earn up to 30 per cent less than their colleagues in Queensland Health (QH) facilities and less than staff at most other aged care facilities in Mackay. Staff have been forced to work double shifts of up to 16 hours to meet resident needs. She said some staff were coming to work at 3am in order to assist their colleagues and ensure resident needs were met.

“Staff are being underpaid and over worked and are struggling to provide the care their elderly residents deserve,’’ Ms Eaton said.

“These extremely dedicated staff have been pushed to the edge and that’s why they’re standing up to rally today.’’

The QNMU has made submissions to more than 60 state, federal and other aged care inquiries to call for mandated federal laws around safe staffing in the nation’s 2000-plus private aged care facilities. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has repeatedly refused to make nurse to resident ratios law in Australia.

The rally will be held at 35 Davey Street, Glenella on Monday 25 October between 2 and 3pm.

Media contact: Lou Robson - 0422 550 278