Hundreds of aged care nurses rallied in Melbourne for better wages and improved staffing levels as part of industrial action against healthcare provider Bupa.
Hundreds of aged-care nurses and carers have rallied at the Melbourne headquarters of health giant Bupa to demand better staffing levels and wages.
The nurses and carers were outside the offices on Wednesday as part of ongoing industrial action and were supported by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.
If a nurse or carer calls in sick at a Bupa facility, there is an expectation they will not be replaced, the federation says.
"You're sending a message, not just to Bupa but to the political parties and our federal government that it is no longer good enough to ignore the vulnerable and the aged in this country by not providing safe staffing levels," ANMF secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said.
The aged-care professionals who had taken 23 days of industrial action were "trailblazers," she said.
Bupa has said it is committed to ensuring appropriate staffing levels and will continue to negotiate with the unions.
"Bupa is committed to ensuring staffing levels are appropriate to meet the assessed medical needs of all residents," Bupa Aged Care chief nurse Maureen Berry said in a statement.
"This includes our decisions on replacing staff if a vacancy arises for sick or other leave."
The organisation respected the right of employees to take protected action but were disappointed by the ongoing action.
"We're disappointed the union feels this level of industrial leverage was warranted, given we are negotiating in good faith," she said.
The company has improved its wage offer since industrial action began in early October.