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Issue #1931      September 7, 2020

Aged care workers speak out: “thank you is not enough”

Statement via United Workers’ Union

Aged care workers across Australia are speaking out about the appalling conditions they face while working in aged care, sending a message to employers and politicians: “Thank you is not enough.”

In a week of action, aged care workers are sharing their stories of the challenges they face working in the historically understaffed, underfunded and underpaid sector.

Based on the annual Aged Care Workers’ Day on 2nd September, aged care workers are telling the federal government that gratitude without addressing a broken system is just empty words.

South Australian aged care worker Ehying says:

“In a 12-hour shift I sometimes walk more than 25,000 steps as I provide care to those I care for. I have been a personal care attendant for 19 years and I love my job.

“But the expectations on carers are too high and there’s not enough time to do the job properly. Thank you is not enough.”

West Australian aged care worker Melinda says:

“It’s nice to get the thanks but give me the action. Thank you is not enough.

“We’re so short-staffed, we’re underfunded. No more words please.”

Queensland aged care worker Diane says:

“Every shift needs more hands on deck. I’ve worked around seven and a half years in aged care and this was an issue before COVID as well.

“Residents love to have a chat. I want to ask, ‘how was your night’s sleep?’ and to listen to their response before whipping them into their clothes. But we are so rushed; there just isn’t enough time.”

During the week of action, aged care workers in South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia will attend meetings to discuss the challenges they face and what solutions are available.

“The Covid-19 crisis has exposed the broken aged care system for what it is,” United Workers’ Union Aged Care director Carolyn Smith said.

“Understaffed, overworked and underpaid carers are expected to hold the system together. Yet there have been no concrete steps towards a permanent fix for aged care workers. Aged carers feel ripped off by the bungled retention bonus, pressured by bans on jobs without any thought of the impact on them or their centres, and ignored by government during the crisis.

“It’s no wonder aged care workers are saying, ‘Thank you is not enough.’ ”

Next article – THIS WEEK …

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